Girl to City

Southern Domestic. Oct. 2019. 342p. ISBN 9780578536163. pap. $17; ebk. ISBN 9780578536194. MUSIC
Indie rocker Rigby extends her talent for capsulizing life events and observations in song to the page in this part memoir, part meandering-path-to-success story. Growing up in Pittsburgh and feeling like she didn’t fit in, Rigby moved to New York in the late Seventies to attend art school just as punk “broke.” She fell in love with the city and its downtown scene, formed a country-punk band with her brother and others in the Eighties, and became part of a trio (the Shams), releasing a critically acclaimed solo album, Diary of a Mod Housewife, in 1996. She worked nine-to-five temp jobs to survive, dallied with dangerous men, married a drummer, had a child, moved to Brooklyn before it was cool, divorced, and kept plugging away at her music. The glimpses of late 1980s–early 1990s New York are clear and wistful; her struggles with life balance and choices are relatable. Rigby mingled and played with many famous musicians, and her wide-eyed appreciation (of most) is appealing but not cloying.
VERDICT Rigby vaults readers back to a scarier but glamorous time in New York. Watching her grow up and pursue her dreams is gratifying. Fans of she-punk memoirs and stories of success on one’s own terms will enjoy this.
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