Pros: Really clever way of arranging a memoir, especially since Sheffield is a music critic. Talking to Girls chronicles Sheffield’s various adventures in love from adolescence onward, arranged based on a song significant to him during that era or relationship. His memoir is as much about his love affairs with different songs and artists as it is about the girls or women he’s been involved with.
Con: It gets old after about the fifth or sixth essay (for me, anyway). Especially since I wasn’t a teenager during the 80s, I have never liked Duran Duran, and I have no Irish sisters (what, you don’t either?). Sheffield talks to his audience as though they are reminiscing along with him, which would be endearing if I were, but I’m not, so it isn’t.
Additional Pro: The chapter on his first wife (I think). It makes me want to go out and read Love Is a Mix Tape. Here’s a particularly profound excerpt:
Love can do whatever it wants to you. And it’s a lot meaner than you are. (And then love starts talking to you the way Kirk Douglas talks to Jane Greer in Out of the Past.) It won’t be quick. I’ll break you first. You won’t be able to answer the phone or walk around in your own apartment without wondering, is this it? And when it does come, it still won’t be quick. And it won’t be pretty.
So, given that nonfiction is not my favorite, and given that I’m an alienated audience, I still enjoyed this book. Sheffield’s voice is genial and self-deprecating. I would happily recommend this to 80s music geeks and people who like memoirs. Also to Whitney, because I thought it would make her laugh. Check it out and tell me what you think.