I LOVED this book. “But Enough About Me: How a Small-Town Girl Went from Shag Carpet to the Red Carpet” is by far the funniest memoir I have ever read and one of the most interesting for those of us who love juicy, behind-the-scenes tidbits about celebrities and all their foibles.
Jancee Dunn recounts the most memorable interviews she has conducted as a reporter for Rolling Stone, including sit-downs with some of the biggest names in the music business– Madonna, Bono, Dolly Parton, Scott Weiland–whom she profiled over the years after landing a job at the magazine in 1989. She started at the bottom as an editorial assistant and worked her way up.
Between her anecdotal and wickedly funny encounters with the stars, Dunn interjects stories from her personal life that are just as hilarious, revealing a Jersey Girl with Southern ancestry who remains awestruck by her position in the big leagues and constantly tamps down her small-town-girl insecurities as she mingles with rock ‘n’ roll royalty.
Truly, one of the funniest passages doesn’t contain any celebrities at all. It’s Dunn’s take on a communal camping trip with a huge group of people sharing the same dumpy quarters, inane activities and improvised meals as they stumble through days of flowing beer and debauchery. On a hayride that feels to her like a forced march, she befriends a girl, suspecting a kindred spirit who is experiencing the same feelings of dread and disgust. She finally maneuvers over the bales of hay, through the drunken revelers in the bouncing carriage to engage the girl, who tells her: “I was once in a car that caught fire. This is worse.”
That’s just a taste of the sardonic one-offs that fill this book and have the reader laughing out loud as they turn the pages. And while she exposes the superficial world that insulates megastars, revealing industry secrets of being a a successful celebrity journalist, she also highlights some of her more meaningful interviews with legends such as Barry White, Loretta Lynn and Cher. Toward the end of the book, she waxes nostalgic about the real days of rock ‘n’ roll by comparing back-to-back interviews with Justin Timberlake and Grace Slick, one polished and publicist-approved banter, the other freewheeling, warts-and-all storytelling.
Dunn never loses the sincere voice of the Jersey Girl who, surrounded by excess and outlandish behavior, remains in touch with the important things in her life: home, family and longtime friends.
The paperback begins with more than three pages of blurbs from various publications, including Rolling Stone. They read: “Relentlessly readable,” “an irresistible narrator,” “pop culture served with a side of smarts,” “a touching laugh-out-loud memoir.” None of it is hyperbole. I can’t wait to share this book with others who will devour it with the same relish that I did. A deliciously dishy and often emotional read.