Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon--and the Journey of a Generation

Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon--and the Journey of a Generation

by Sheila Weller
4.2 31

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Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon--and the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller

A groundbreaking and irresistible biography of three of America's most important musical artists—Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon—charts their lives as women at a magical moment in time.

Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon remain among the most enduring and important women in popular music. Each woman is distinct. Carole King is the product of outer-borough, middle-class New York City; Joni Mitchell is a granddaughter of Canadian farmers; and Carly Simon is a child of the Manhattan intellectual upper crust. They collectively represent, in their lives and their songs, a great swath of American girls who came of age in the late 1960s. Their stories trace the arc of the now mythic sixties generation—female version—but in a bracingly specific and deeply recalled way, far from cliché. The history of the women of that generation has never been written—until now, through their resonant lives and emblematic songs.

Filled with the voices of many dozens of these women's intimates, who are speaking in these pages for the first time, this alternating biography reads like a novel—except it's all true, and the heroines are famous and beloved. Sheila Weller captures the character of each woman and gives a balanced portrayal enriched by a wealth of new information.

Girls Like Us is an epic treatment of midcentury women who dared to break tradition and become what none had been before them—confessors in song, rock superstars, and adventurers of heart and soul.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416564775
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 04/08/2008
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 111,027
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Sheila Weller is a New York Times bestselling author and award-winning magazine journalist. She is the author of five previous books, most recently her 2003 family memoir, Dancing at Ciro's, which The Washington Post called "a substantial contribution to American social history." She is the senior contributing editor at Glamour, a contributor to Vanity Fair, and a former contributing editor of New York. To learn more, visit

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Girls Like Us 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't begin to write how much I'm enjoying this's as if the author wrote it just for me! Joni Mitchell is my favorite female artist (James Taylor being my favorite male), and I have many albums of Carly Simon and a few of Carole King's as well. Reading this book is like reading a soundtrack of my life! At every twist and turn I find out how incestuous the music business is, and how interrelated and connected my favorite musicians are. While the bulk of the book deals with Joni, Carly and Carole, you'll learn tidbits and interesting facts about many other musicians,actors,celebs as well: James Taylor, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Jackson Browne, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson...the list goes on and on.
The beginning was a bit dry (about their childhoods), but once the women start performing in the music business "katie bar the door!" There are fascinating revelations on nearly EVERY page. Reading the book has made me go back and listen to nearly each and every song by all three artists with a new appreciation and understanding. Brilliant! Highly recommend reading this one.
llamamia More than 1 year ago
I have always been a major fan of both Carole King & Carly Simon so I was naturally drawn to this book. (I'm not that familiar with Joni Mitchell's music as I think she appeals to a slightly different audience.) And being part of this generation, I could certainly relate to the challenges of growing up in the 60's. I was fascinated with the struggles that inspired some of the songs, and how the three reinvented their lives while continuing with their songwriting careers. Replaying their music now has a deeper meaning & relevance knowing more of the background. Ms. Weller is a talented writer & storyteller & it appears that a tremendous amount of research went into the writing of this book. Having said this, I think the book could have been written about the time period, the second wave of Woman's Lib, & the music that surrounded this era. Weller brought so many celebrities, not just musicians, into her book that the story might have flowed more smoothly & then become what it appears she was trying to portray, "the journey of a generation." She could have still used the three as examples of blazing a path for future women. And I don't think it was necessary to reveal some of the more intimate details of the lives of these women when they were not sanctioned, (although I suppose it sells books) especially when she knew that at least one of the three was planing her own autobiography. (It seems that only Carly Simon consented to be interviewed.)I truly hope that Carole King does in fact write her autobiography. I look forward to hearing about her life from her own perspective. Perhaps Carly Simon will do the same.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's hard to imagine a fan of the three women singer/songwriters profiled in "Girls like Us" not being riveted with the revelations found throughout Sheila Weller's terrific book. While all three (Simon, Mitchell and King) have led very public lives in both the press and their often personal songs, this book peels back new layers, so that the reader feels an intimacy about each woman and connection with her life's journey. Weller provides their alternating stories with a background social history of American women that presents context to each one's life choices. It's sad to see each singer struggling to have viable careers dismissed by record and radio executives as they reach middle age, a struggle far less likely for their male peers. It's also disappointing to see many of the often famous men these women were involved with acting like jerks and worse. While you can argue that each woman is worthy of her own individual biography, their shared stories work well as a narrative since their lives crossed more than once. "Girls like Us" is indispensible to understanding American popular music of the sixties and seventies. Highly recommended.
DebDD More than 1 year ago
If you love the music of Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, and Carole King you will love reading this book. This book depicts how their music provided the soundtrack for a generation of women who came of age in the 60's and 70's. Also, anyone would love to read about how the events of the 60's and 70's shaped the music these women created even if that person didn't grow up in that era.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was fascinating to read in-depth about the songwriters/singers who I grew up listening to and to understand the interaction of this close-knit circle of musicians, producers and writers all during the same time period. Finding out the motivation and the actual person who their songs were written for was also enlightening. Juxtaposed against the women's movement of the time was a unifying theme that tied all three singers' lives together.
Lianna1 More than 1 year ago
Author Sheila Weller writes a well-researched story and gives us an insight into the lives and loves of three women whose songs ignited a generation of women. The stories of Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, and Carole King are interwoven with before unheard of antecdotes and their own musings. I found it particularly interesting to see how their personal heartbreaks and journeys were reflected in their music. This book dissects the male dominated music industry and gives the reader a better sense of what female artists had to endure in their climb to the top of the charts. While complimentary and respectful; Weller is not afraid to show the foibles, egos or career damaging decisions made by each. This only makes each of these strong, vital women more human. Also, who doesn't finally want to know what we suspected all along... the identity of the cad in "You're So Vain".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sheila takes you behind the scenes and into the past of three amazing women who unwittingly paved the way through the ‘60s and ‘70s music world. You’ll be tempted to take another listen to those magical hits after you learn the inspiration behind the lyrics that we all know so well. There were interesting life lessons that strengthened each one and, yet, were made vulnerable by the men who appeared in their lives, seemingly forever, only to leave behind a broken heart. Who was Carly referring to in “You’re So Vain” (you think you know…), who was Joni’s “Little Green” and what ultimately spoke to Carole’s heart? If you read Sheila’s wonderful, well researched book, you will find a new appreciation for these incredible women, the music they created and come to the realization that they are “Girls Like Us”. ~T Pugh~
CanyonLady More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this book about three extraordinary women recording artists who profoundly influenced my 'formative' years. It was significant to me to know some of the backstory of how they got into the business, what in their lives influenced the music, and how so many of 'the songs' evolved. The book is pithy--sometimes a little overdone with the details--but I was very impressed with Weller's research and style. It was sometimes hard to keep track of each woman's story as they are not told consecutively, but alternated. Still, I loved reading this book and could not put it down until I was done.
NKD More than 1 year ago
Very interesting and very detailed biography of three singer/songwritiers. The background data on each singer is so detailed that it is easy to get lost in the weeds of information.The author writes extremely well, and the verbage is often over my head. I learned quite a bit about each singer. The author obviously did her homework in researching the backgrounds of each singer. It took me a long time to get through this book.
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Rachel DeSantis More than 1 year ago
amazing how the lives of so many famous musicians were intertwined, these are three very interesting ladies
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L.A.Carlson-writer More than 1 year ago
This book tells the story of the early lives of Carole King, Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell. It is interesting to read how they found their stage names, when they had children and who they had relationships with and how their musical careers took off. The one common thread between all of them is James Taylor. For anyone who idolizes these women you will quickly realize some of their choices were not always wise ones and it is amazing the broad circle of recognizable musicians they were friends with and many times it evolved into something intimate. I found that piece not so flattering because there were so many. The book is well written. It did change my perceptions of these 3 women and when I hear their music I now often think of the women behind the name and image.
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