book review: Everything I’m Cracked Up To Be

Everything I’m Cracked Up To Be is a memoir chronicling Jen Trynin‘s catapult through the music business jungle. The subtitle is “A Rock And Roll Fairy Tale” which isn’t exaggeration; she went from obscurity to having 11 labels following her around everywhere she went, being the target of a classic major-label bidding war, and then – and then –


That’s not a fair summary, either, because it is more engaging and more heart-wrenching and more heart-breaking than I could ever make it seem. You simultaneously find yourself rooting for Trynin as well as wanting to smack her silly (especially if you know any musicians who would kill or die to have been in her place), when she finds herself lost on the road with an unsupportive label and then watches her career slowly decline until she herself decides to pull the plug.

Her decision to sign to WB in the pre-Danny Goldberg era – which is of course an era that never was – is like watching a horror movie when the heroine hears a noise in the basement and you want to yell at the screen, “NO! DON’T GO DOWN THERE!” And that’s the feeling engendered by this tale that distinguishes it head and shoulders amongst others of its ilk: it’s human, it’s real, you can feel the angst and the confusion and the anguish and everything else Trynin was experiencing.

She places blame square on her own shoulders when it should be. It’s refreshingly human and, joy of joys, incredibly well-written, which is something that most rock memoirs seem to think is optional. Even if you know the type of saga well enough to tell it around the campfire without knowing her specifics, it’s worth a read. If you are close to any musicians, it’s a definite read. And if you live with any of them, buy it and sit there while they read every single word.