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On My Nightstand: Cyndi Lauper memoir paints different picture of ‘pop princess’

 CYNDI LAUPER: A Memoir by Cyndi Lauper (with Jancee Dunn) Any assumption that Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” video persona represents her totality learns otherwise in her autobiography, Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir. In her salty “Queens English”

CYNDI LAUPER: A Memoir by Cyndi Lauper (with Jancee Dunn) Any assumption that Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” video persona represents her totality learns otherwise in her autobiography, Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir. In her salty “Queens English”

Any assumption that Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” video persona represents her totality learns otherwise in her autobiography, Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir. In her salty “Queens English” (the New York borough, not the monarch) she reveals how eccentricity and imagination served as her refuge from exploitative relationships, physical danger, menial jobs and professional struggles. Determined to find and nurture her unique voice, Lauper took many a personal and professional risk, and the unexpected payoff was massive fame. Her feminism, forged in a repressive Italian Catholic household (women as chattel) was fertilized by music industry sexism (women as product).

Never exactly the “pop princess” depicted by media, she is contradictorily (often humorously) self-deprecating yet fully confident in her artistic vision and musical instincts. The conversational narrative is well suited to anecdotes about the common experiences of love, loss, work, marriage and motherhood and the rarefied ones of celebrity, film acting, reality television and globetrotting.

Lauper acknowledges frustrating and misleading comparisons to Madonna at the start of her career and revels in having inspired current musical iconoclasts – and attention-grabbers – Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj. Though outshone stylistically by Patti Smith’s award-winning memoir Just Kids, this one is incisive in its own way, highly readable and enjoyable.

Margaret Porter

Epsom

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