Hi again, Bookies!
Well, we’re here to wrap up our discussion of Talking to Girls About Duran Duran. I have to say that I really loved this last section—I found it to be meaty and touching and (in some spots) heavy. I had two favorite chapters: New Kids on the Block “Hangin’ Tough” and Big Daddy Kane “Ain’t No Half Steppin’.”
The NKOTB chapter (I don’t think I’ve ever written “NKOTB” before) is, at its heart, about Sheffield’s sister Caroline. I felt like I could really tell how much Sheffield loves her and how highly he thinks of her. And I have to say, she sounds like she’d be a really fun little sister to have—a girl voted “Most Daring” and “Most Awesome” (what a title to win!!), a girl who tells her sister to f*ck off at the dinner table (a dinner table full of Irish Catholics nonetheless), a girl who tells her big brother “Who needs girls? You have me,” and a girl who created the sweetest/coolest sounding NKOTB interview for that big brother. Where I get the sense throughout the book that Sheffield is innocent and maybe even a bit naïve, his sister Caroline seems bold and not afraid. They’re the perfect sibling pair, in my mind.
The Big Daddy Kane chapter was perhaps the most touching one, to me. Sheffield describes his grandfather, like his sister Caroline in the chapter before, in such great detail that I feel like I know him—the old Irish guy who takes the bus shopping by himself, then sits and laughs at his grandson when he’s being chastised; a guy who cooks steaks and yells at the Red Sox on TV. So I didn’t expect it when we got to see his vulnerable side when Sheffield talks about cutting his toenails for him: Sheffield comes downstairs to see his grandfather holding nail clippers to fix his hurting toes, but he’s unable to reach down and cut them himself. That section really moved me—the notion that this independent man is facing his mortality, really, and now needed to ask for help with tasks he’d always done himself, and the fact that Sheffield “knew it must have mortified [his] grandfather to ask…for help with something this intimate.” What a revelation to have—and what a hard revelation to watch someone you love have.
All along, I’ve been wondering what real connection Duran Duran had to this book, aside from being an ’80s band like the ones that name each of the chapters. And I was happy that Sheffield made it clear to me with the last chapter (aptly named Duran Duran “All She Wants Is”). I think this is where the story I was craving in the middle section came together. Sheffield writes, “They sang ‘All she wants is, all she wants is’—but they wouldn’t say what she wants! Duran Duran knew, they just wouldn’t tell me.” And I suppose largely, this book is about Sheffield navigating his relationships with the women who have made the biggest impact on his life.
And, of course, about the fun, funny music that narrated it all.
Now to you: What were your favorite parts of this section? Did you find this last part of the book more substantial than others? And what did you think of the ending—were you satisfied?
I also have some great news: Rob Sheffield has agreed to answer questions about the book for us! All you have to do is post them in the comments below and we’ll soon hear what the author has to say.
Thank you for reading with me this month—it was, in ’80s-speak, totally awesome!
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