Throwing Muses' Kristin Hersh Announces RAT GIRL: A Memoir
Kristin Hersh is one of the most critically-acclaimed, pioneering female rock musicians of the past two decades. The New York Times called her "a truly fear-inspiring rock innovator," Rolling Stone dubbed her band, Throwing Muses, "trailblazing" and "one of alternative rock's most influential but underappreciated groups."
Over the course of her career, she has released over 20 albums, including 9 solo records. Penguin is thrilled to be publishing Kristin's first literary effort, RAT GIRL: A Memoir (A Penguin Books Original; On-Sale Date: August 31, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-14-311739-1; $15.00; 224 pages), a look at the tumultuous year that transformed her from a precocious and rebellious teenager into a rock star – and mother.
In 1985, Kristin Hersh was eighteen years old and just beginning to find her place in the world. After enrolling in college at an early age, where she befriended the larger-than-life former box office sensation Betty Hutton, she made her home squatting in various apartments around Providence, Rhode Island, hanging out with artists, musicians, addicts and other local characters. Sometimes she would sleep in her car and spend the early morning hours swimming in strangers' backyard pools, being careful not to wake the owners. Throwing Muses was just getting off the ground; Kristin and her bandmates spent their nights gleefully driving from venue to venue in their dilapidated car, the Silver Bullet, trying to convince the bouncers at clubs that they weren't just underage kinds trying to get in the bar—they were actually the band.
Then everything changed. Kristin found herself in a very dark place, setting off a series of episodes that culminated in a suicide attempt, after which she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As she slowly began to resurface, Throwing Muses relocated to Boston, where they were celebrated in the local music press and subsequently courted by record labels, both indie and major. Then an even bigger surprise came: Kristin discovered that she was pregnant. Now, instead of wondering what cities in Europe she'd be touring, Kristin found herself wondering if she could afford diapers, whether anti-depressants can be mixed with pre-natal vitamins, and how to balance a guitar on her stomach in her third trimester.
Written in lyrical, evocative, and often hilarious prose, RAT GIRL is the story of one year in a young woman's life, a year that marked a turning point for her in countless ways. Essentially a love story, the book is brimming with passion for the conflagration that is Hersh's songwriting process. Filled with indelible characters, from the artists who share her flophouses to the aging movie star who gave her advice on fame, this memoir offers a unique and arresting account of Kristin Hersh's experience of growing up—much more quickly than she had planned.