High School (book)
The book includes numerous memoirs written by Tegan or Sara Quin about their formative years in high school while growing up in Canada in the mid-to-late 1990s. Their memoirs discuss going through puberty, dating and discovering their sexuality, partying and using drugs, their parents' separation, their love of music, learning how to play instruments, and forming a band.
|Own?||Hardcover, USA, 1st edition, signed by the authors.|
|Read?||Hardcover, USA, 1st edition / audiobook read by the authors.|
|Finished||2022-03-05 / 2022-12-15.|
Knowing I was a fan of the band, my wife bought me a signed hardcover copy of this book for my birthday in 2020. It sat on my shelf for almost two years while I worked through my existing pile of books, but I finally began reading it in 2022. I was surprised to discover that this was one of the few books I've read that I had a hard time putting down. I would recommend it to any fan of the group, but also to anyone who might be raising gay or rebellious teens. The book is especially important to me because I am raising twin daughters, so, I suspect I'll also encounter a lot of the twin-specific issues they bring up.
- The various stories are interesting and give a mostly uncensored peek into the life of a teenage girl in the 1990s. Both Quins speak candidly about their drug use, sex lives, body image, divorced parents, and coming to terms with their lesbianism in a culture where hating the LGBT was still acceptable. I found it all to be very intriguing.
- Reading through all the bullshit the girls went through was a bit eye-opening for me. Although my own teen years were pretty traumatic, the fact that I was a straight male meant that my life was practically charmed compared to theirs.
- Because the sisters are the same age as I, I remember all of their references to pop culture. However, most of what they embraced, I eschewed, so it was interesting seeing it from the other side.
- The book includes dozens of photos of the teens and their family and friends which are really helpful for picturing how their looks changed as they progressed through high school.
- The audiobook includes several early recordings of demo tapes, chatter between the girls and their friends when they were teens, and ends with both women interviewing each other about writing the book. It also includes the photos from the book as a digital download.
- As is common with most memoirs, especially those dealing with childhood, I question the veracity of a lot of these stories. I don't think either woman is purposely being deceptive, but some of the memories seem far too detailed to be trustworthy. A lot of research into memory has taught us that, the older our memories get, the more likely they are to get confabulated. I think a lot of the details are not so much accurate, but used more to convey a feeling. Luckily, the girls had various sources like diaries, photographs, video recordings, to help jog their memories.
- Since the authors are musicians and not writers, some of the word choices they use feel forced.
- The memoirs will often include a person who won't be described in detail until a later memoir. This resulted in a lot of blank faces in my head for the people I couldn't picture. It would have been nice if a photo of each person was included in a memoir which focused on them, or, at least a more detailed physical description. However, while Tegan and Sara are used to having their lives on public display, I doubt their friends are, so I understand why they are left vague.
- The labels for the included photographs are in the very back of the book which requires a lot of flipping back and forth to read and see. It would have been a lot nicer if these notes were with the photos, or, at least on a nearby page.
- The print book lacks the demo music, audio clips, and interview of the audiobook.