Talking to Girls About Duran Duran

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran

One Young Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut
by Rob Sheffield

I was born in 1984. So for me, the ‘80s mainly consisted of a lot of My Little Pony, diapers and learning how to write my own name, but not a lot of concert going and head banging. I grew up on a steady diet of ‘90s, but was only in kindergarten when the infamous “hair” decade came to a close.

This does not mean I can’t appreciate some good ‘80s references though, I was a huge fan of the original I Love the ‘80s show on VH1. I just didn’t experience the decade in the same way as others who were teens during that era.

In Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, Sheffield explores his own experiences growing up with a bunch of sisters in the 1980s. As a writer for Rolling Stone, his love of music has only grown over the years, but it was just in its infancy when he was introduced to the music of Madonna and Prince.

Sheffield’s candor throughout the book makes it feel like you’re chatting with a friend and reminiscing about your years spent discovering who you are. The chapters, each titled with a hit song, tell disconnected stories from his life. Some are sweet, others funny; there’s a great bit about his love of karaoke, another about the horrible things we do for the people we love (when he’s living with his grandpa).

My favorite chapter was “Enola Gay” which covers Sheffield’s time in Spain. I couldn’t stop laughing at a section where he describes seeing the movie Airplane! with friends who had never seen it. A lot of the humor is lost in translation and he finds himself howling at the jokes he knows so well, while the other wonder why characters keep saying, “Me llamo es no Shirley!”

The book’s main strength was also its main weakness. The stories are disconnected, which makes it easy to pick up and put down, but also makes it feel a bit too episodic. It veers from funny to sad, so the book doesn’t have a consistent mood. It feels like a collection of short stories or memories that have been strung together under the pretense of “’80s music.” It’s a fun summer read, but I liked it, I didn’t love it and wouldn’t re-read it.

"Sometimes it's a lonely thing to devote your heart to a song, especially when it's a song that literally nobody can stand."


Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

Just checked this out at the library...

Enbrethiliel said...


Oh, gosh, 80s music! What more does one have to say? =P

That's a great quote, too. I'm sure all music lovers can relate to it!

BookQuoter said...

That quote is pretty sad. So, I guess this book is a maybe for me. Thanks for the review.

Emily said...

i've just reserved this. Thanks!

Carl V. Anderson said...

This one sounds like one I'd probably enjoy even with its flaws. I am definitely a child of the 80's, having went through my teen years during them (and getting married just before the end). 80's music remains some of my very favorite.

I'll be adding this to the library queue!

Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

Sounds like a non-fiction High Fidelity!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Melissa/Emily - Enjoy!

Enbrethiliel - I know, I can think of so many songs that I love, but probably wouldn't admit to.

BookQuoter - It's definitely not a must read.

Carl V - It would be perfect for you!

Alex - High Fidelity is way better, but it is similar.

Unknown said...

Born in 1970, I was ripe for Duran Duran and Madonna when they first splashed on the scene. I was totally in love with DD's John Taylor, lol.

ah, the 80's, thanks for taking me back for a moment. :)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Monica - I'm sure I would have appreciated this book much more if I'd grown up during that time period. I did enjoy it though.

Erin O'Riordan said...

I'll read 'Talking to Other Girls About My Little Pony' when you write that, Melissa.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Erin - Bahahaha, I'll send you a copy when it's complete.