Face It

Dey St: HarperCollins. Oct. 2019. 304p. ISBN 9780060749583. $32.50; ebk. ISBN 9780062199379. MUSIC
Blondie lead singer Harry’s (Making Tracks) memoir is a rambling mess with questionable reliability, proclamations of clairvoyance, obvious memory lapses, and a heavy thread of sexual abuse that leaves readers feeling as if they have intimately experienced trauma. For every moment of positive sexuality, there are horror stories about the men surrounding her. From the pediatrician who said she had bedroom eyes to drummer Buddy Rich following a preteen Harry home to Joey Skaggs and his filmmaker friend flat out assaulting her, we see a pattern of constant exploitation. Her treatment of the subject is equally horrifying. When she doesn’t gloss over the events with a sort of nihilistic detachment, she makes excuses for her assailants, blames her irresistible sexuality, and, in one passage, attributes her abusive ex-boyfriend’s possessive and paranoid behavior to his previous girlfriends. Harry is at her best when talking about the New York of her youth and the fashion and music she loved and worked on throughout her life. That’s where readers will connect with her.
VERDICT Harry indicated that she didn’t want to write a memoir, and it shows. Not recommended.

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