Your Own Kind of Girl…
About the Book:
ARIA Award-winning singer and actress Clare Bowditch confronts her inner critic in this no-holds-barred memoir.
This is the story I promised myself, aged twenty-one, that I would one day be brave enough – and well enough – to write.
Clare Bowditch has always had a knack for telling stories. Through her music and performing, this beloved Australian artist has touched hundreds of thousands of lives. But what of the stories she used to tell herself? That ‘real life’ only begins once you’re thin or beautiful, that good things only happen to other people.
YOUR OWN KIND OF GIRL reveals a childhood punctuated by grief, anxiety and compulsion, and tells how these forces shaped Clare’s life for better and for worse. This is a heartbreaking, wise and at times playful memoir. Clare’s own story told raw and as it happened. A reminder that even on the darkest of nights, victory is closer than it seems.
With startling candour, Clare lays bare her truth in the hope that doing so will inspire anyone who’s ever done battle with their inner critic. This is the work of a woman who has found her true power – and wants to pass it on. Happiness, we discover, is only possible when we take charge of the stories we tell ourselves.
I have never read a more meaningful memoir, nor a more spot on account of trauma, grief, and mental illness until now, with this book: Your Own Kind of Girl. From my reckoning, Clare and I are of a similar age, so there was a great deal of nostalgia and relatable moments throughout this book for me. As a teen in the 90s, I was heavily influenced by the skeletal super model movement, and while eating disorders are more complicated than simply emulating media impressions, this was, for me, where it all began, where the ‘permission’ to be as thin as possible came from. So yes, there was a lot within this book that reached out and grabbed a hold of me. So much.
‘This crying felt like it was for a million reasons and, at the same time, I couldn’t pinpoint even one. This crying felt like there was no use talking about it because it wouldn’t make any sense, ever.’
Clare Bowditch successfully demonstrates with this book that she is a brilliant writer. Many of us have already known this via her songs, but she displays her style with so much more depth within this book. It is honest, raw, brought me to tears several times, but it also made me laugh, and smile with happiness. To be able to unpack your life with such finesse, and with such a lack of self-pity and external blame, is a real skill. Historically, I am not a fan of memoirs. However, Your Own Kind of Girl is a memoir unlike any I have read before, so much so, that I kind of forgot I was even reading a memoir – that good!
‘Sometimes, what starts at a breakdown really can become the moment you look back on as a breakthrough, as the moment in which you started to live your own kind of life.’
I loved the arrangement of this book too. It wasn’t necessarily linear, but more themed around the events and stages of Clare’s journey towards becoming her own kind of girl. The chapters were quaintly titled with Clare’s own song titles – I love this sort of attention to detail, it gets me every time.
‘This time, I was able to make something of my heartbreak, and this is when I got it – that songs are like containers. They are one of the only things in the world strong enough to hold emotions this raw, and this contradictory. A song is like a Tardis of meaning.’
Overall, after reading this book, I reached the end and thought that not only is Clare Bowditch a strong and beautiful woman, she is a role model for anyone trying to make their way into a creative career. This is a book for anyone and everyone. There is so much in it about being a human in a chaotic world and I seriously cannot recommend it highly enough.
‘I suppose I’m telling this story because I want to make the point – a career is a thing that’s made up of one tiny step, one small act of courage after the other.’
Thanks extended to Allen & Unwin for providing me with a copy of Your Own Kind Of Girl for review.
About the Author:
Clare Bowditch is a storyteller who lives in Melbourne with her husband Marty, their three teenage children, a white groodle, and one lone surviving free-ranging guinea pig. In terms of ‘the fancy stuff’, Bowditch is a bestselling ARIA Award-winning musician (Best Female Artist), Rolling Stone Woman of the Year (Contribution to Culture), Logie-nominated actor (for her role as ‘Rosanna’ on hit TV show Offspring), and a former ABC broadcaster who still misses her talk-back callers very much, and hopes they’re doing okay out there. In her spare time, Bowditch does a lot of public-speaking and event-running. She uses humour and the collective terror of ‘public-singing’ as tools to teach skills around courage and self-leadership. She is also the founder Big Hearted Business, a love project designed to support creative people in their businesses, and businesses with their creative thinking. As a musician Clare has performed and toured with the likes of Leonard Cohen, Paul Kelly, Cat Power, John Butler, Snow Patrol and Gotye. The person she enjoys touring with the most is her drummer and husband, Marty Brown.
Your Own Kind of Girl
Published by Allen & Unwin
Released October 2019