"The women of Bikini Kill let guitarist Billy Karren be in their feminist punk band, but only if he's willing to just "do some shit." Being a feminist dude is like that. We may ask you to "do some shit" for the band, but you don't get to be Kathleen Hannah."--@heatherurehere

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Quick Review: Daddy, a Memoir from Madison Young

I feel oddly mixed about Madison Young's memoir, Daddy. It starts off strong with insights into Young's art, work and relationships with family, other artists and her partners--and she really bares her soul, which almost always makes an interesting memoir. Very intimate details about her relationships are given, with some thought, but something about the style of writing left me wanting a good deal of the time. The book begins and ends with much self-examination, and these are the parts I liked the best. Yet the bulk of the book is a series of loosely related life events, which is kind of how we all live our lives, but that choice didn't give me the meaty, explicit connections that I like in memoirs.

On the other hand, it is this style that lends the books some of its strength--when we look back at our lives, we can try to force a simple, coherent narrative, but that's always a bit contrived. Young leaves her life messy in this memoir, and that's to be commended, even if as a reader it sometimes wasn't as satisfying.

I suspect that future memoirs, if she continues writing them, will be better than this one as she hones her writing craft--a book centering on the founding of Femina Potens would be most welcome, for instance, as the bits and pieces we get about it skim the surface. I want to hear (even) more about how feminism, art, submission and motherhood have intersected (or not!) in her life. There is a conceit here that the book is about Young's Daddy, yet is also about her, and that works for what this book is. But I also would love to hear more about her feminism, art and porn work apart from her partner's place in her life, though it's possible that separating her partner from all of that isn't possible(?).

The book's site: http://daddythememoir.wordpress.com/

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