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A Rock and Roll Fairy Tale

by Jen Trynin

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-15-101148-6
Publisher: Harcourt

The would-be Alanis Morissette of her generation—Alanis Morissette beat her to it—Trynin pens the tale of fading away before getting the chance to burn out.

The school that spawned Liz Phair and Karen O is also the alma mater of Jen Trynin. Hardly a household name, but believe her, she was this close. This close is the crux of this memoir, which details the hysterical hype surrounding Trynin’s debut album, and her subsequent devastation when the public failed to believe it. Trynin, in a literary version of the movie montage, condenses her childhood and teen years into a few pages of fragments. The narrative begins when the singer-songwriter-guitarist attempts to infiltrate Boston’s club scene after emerging from the liberal-arts bubble. Years of stagnation in the “Sunday-through-Wednesday-night/folk-acoustic-chick-band-wasteland” follow, during which she falls in love with a ponytailed producer and records an EP on a short-lived jazz label. After a cycle of minor successes followed by bouts of stuffing her body with pizza and her brain with late-night television, Trynin, just before her watershed 30th birthday, decides to make one last go of musical success. After releasing an album on her own impromptu label, she is shocked to find herself at the center of the music industry’s most spotlighted bidding war in years. The whirlwind begins and the text devolves into a frantic list of names and quotes, facts and figures. Trynin plays nightly gigs, has her ear chewed off by one executive or lawyer or manager after another, gets drunk, kisses her bass player, gets drunk, signs a huge contract, gets drunk and ultimately ends up knocked out of rock-star contention by that other strong-voiced, edgy female rocker, Alanis Morissette.

Casual, chatty book that’s generally pointless, save for some vaguely interesting music-business insights that illuminate the industry’s egregious exploitation of artists.