Carrie Brownstein‘s new memoir “Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl” barely mentions “Portlandia, ” her hit TV series. The omission is intentional; Brownstein has a story to tell, and it doesn’t include satirical sketches about a certain element of local culture.
What Brownstein does instead is open a window into her turbulent, creative Northwest life. She grew up in the Seattle suburbs, outgoing and unruly, a natural performer who insisted on singing at family get-togethers and who staged full costume-and-theme plays with her friends. Her home life fractured when her mother was hospitalized for an eating disorder and later moved out. Her father, detached and remote, later came out as gay.
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Brownstein attended Western Washington University but soon threw herself into the music scene that was exploding in Olympia and transferred to Evergreen State College. She and Corin Tucker formed Sleater-Kinney after touring together with different bands. They added drummer Janet Weiss and quickly found a propulsive, original sound.
It’s this story that drives “Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl.” Brownstein dedicated her book to Tucker and Weiss and made Sleater-Kinney her focus. The band made seven albums before stopping in 2006 because Brownstein couldn’t go on — she punched herself in the face backstage in Europe in an effort to “make myself extinct.”