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Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love Hardcover – October 31, 2006

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Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love + Journals + Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; 1st edition (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865479593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865479593
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Love writes in her introduction: "I have always said that I would never write a book, and I really haven't." It's true—"diaries" is something of a misnomer, as "scrapbooks" would more accurately describe the collection of old photographs, hand-scrawled song lyrics and other documents that fill these pages. The materials assembled by Stander cover every phase of the rock star's "wild pirate life," from a failed childhood audition for The Mickey Mouse Club to an e-mail exchange with Lindsay Lohan about dealing with negative press coverage. (The compilation is so up-to-date it even includes her shocked reactions to the revelations about JT Leroy.) Along the way there are mimeographed flyers for early Hole concerts, a picture of the actual heart-shaped box that inspired Kurt Cobain to write the Nirvana song and photo after photo of Love herself, from candid backstage shots to more polished celebrity portraits. A foreword by Carrie Fisher and an afterword by political activists Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards (Manifesta) each, in their own way, celebrate Love as an unrestrained feminist, but the best way to understand her may be to plunge directly into the raw materials. One thing's for sure: you really have never seen a celebrity memoir like this. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Intimate . . . A collage of a life spent in pursuit of validation, fueled by her relentless creativity . . . This book may be the most direct and honest work that Love has done to date." —Jac Chebatoris, Newsweek 

“Exhibits a heretofore unappreciated level of self-knowledge.” —Rebecca Winters Keegan, Time
“This is a pastiche, an assemblage, the most Barthian of texts. Yet it is undeniably a reflection of Love's psyche, confirming that Love's allure lies in her glorious disarray . . . She is not from the starlet factory where they mint Jojos and Rhiannas and other girls who can do that sweet-yet-sexy-yet-a-little-tough thing. She comes from an era when women played their own instruments and wrote their own songs, but she's not one of those Jewel-ish whiners or Sheryl Crow lite rockers. She's the real deal: a grungy girl punk rock star . . . These days, when celebrity is cultivated and managed à la [Jessica and Ashlee Simpson], Courtney Love's feminist status starts to look really radical: No man has ever had that hold on her. Have we seen her be self-promoting? A million times. Have we seen her naked? Sure. But we've never seen her bow down to anyone or anything, including public opinion.” —Lisa Levy, Salon
“An often fascinating document . . . Wade into its depths with caution and you will still get pulled under.” —Mikael Wood, TimeOut New York

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Customer Reviews

Beautiful poems and pictures from Courtney Love's life.
Candy Flemming
Nothing makes sense in this book and she even says she didn't see the reason for doing the book at all.
Shelly Janes
The book provides great insight into her mind and thoughts.
Dorrie Wheeler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 101 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Professional widow, rock star, all-around exhibitionist. You hate her for her craziness and being Kurt Cobain's widow, or you adore her for her nutty unself-consciousness.

Sadly, "Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love" won't add much to the public perception of Love. Instead, it only reinforces what the public already knows about Love, except it's in fragmented, squiggly notes and pasted with little photographs. It's somewhat interesting, but only if you want to read every list and ticket.

"Diaries" is a rather loose term -- this isn't a journal, but a collection of journal entries, letters, poems, songs, and reflections on herself, only some of which make sense ("I am not here as a muse for those Revolting old Ghosts from my Pasts"), pasted into more-or-less chronological order.

It outlines her troubled childhood and modelling days, to her life as a rocker in the band Hole ("We have 3 Guitars. Jill ar bass player played in Sylvia Jincos and Super Heroines. me, I started Babes in Toyland...), and her marriage to legendary rocker Kurt Cobain. And, of course, life after his tragic death.

Aside from the stuff Love wrote, "Dirty Blonde" is littered with little visual patches -- pictures of classic blonde actresses, the "heart shaped box," pictures of guitars, medieval tapestry, and a resume of acting experience. And, of course, LOTS and LOTS of photos of Love and her family.

"Dirty Blonde" does reveal little things about Love. She loves punk, makeup, bleached blondes and a wide variety of books and... uh, other stuff. Teapots, Yeats, and she hates "Nirvanamania." But little things are all you'll get -- little fragments of Love's mind, which never quite pull together into a whole.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Dorrie Wheeler on November 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Dirty Blonde The Diaries of Courtney Love is a hard cover coffee table style type of book. It's similar in design and content style to Heidi Fleiss book Pandering; meaning the book is made up of photocopies handwritten notes, clippings, and photographs. The first thing I will say is if you purchase this book hoping to sit down and read Courtney Love's diary, you might be a bit disappointed. A better title for this book would be Dirty Blonde, A Collection of Clippings from Courtney Love. Yes, the book does contain handwritten notes, but there is no consistency. One can assume that the pieces of paper are in chronological order but there are no dates. Many of the pages just seem to be filled with doodles, and random words and thoughts. It's the kind of thing that if you weren't famous and you put that kind of a thing in a book it would be considered to not have merit because it makes no sense.

Now before it seems like I am coming down to hard on Dirty Blonde, let me explain. I am a huge fan of Courtney Love's music and think that Dirty Blonde is a must have for the Courtney Love fan. Just don't pick it up expecting to actually read a consistent diary as the book is primarily made up of random pieces of papers. Some of the diary like notes are interesting but as a reader what frustrated me is that I didn't what time period the notes came from or what era in her life. Another thing I too much didn't like about the book, is that it's great to see Courtney's hand written notes, they just didn't always seem very legible to me. So there were times I struggled to read the notes. Then after I finish the entire book I find a section titled "Notes& Chronology" that details the dates and origins of the notes. A foot note or some kind of indication on the actual page would have been nice.
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40 of 54 people found the following review helpful By E. Woontner on November 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
First of all, don't buy, read or review books about people you despise, hate etc. That is simply stupid! For fans, this is a goldmine, and if you read carefully, between the pictures, the collages, the icons, and the colors there is a wounded soul, probably beyond repair. And there is much, much more that she would not reveal, leaving it to the frankly boring and moralistic dissection of tabloids, gossip web sites, and haters everywhere. She must be past caring by now.

This is a bold, tough, courageous woman, but also somebody who should have received the love, care and nurturing she craved at the right time. So she had the courage to look in all the wrong places, and she plunged deep in, while most of the public could only sit there and point fingers. The hypocrites, the prudes, the ones who accuse (still! Hello? Could you get OVER it, please?) her of getting away with murder.

Yesterday I met Courtney Love in person at a book signing. She is definitely clean, still very beautiful, funny, witty. You would never tell that she had the life she had. It's not just whatever makeup and plastic surgery, she might have had: it's the vibe she gives out, her lack of pretension, her being real, no matter how much her appearance or style might have changed. Those are costumes. She is more than a survivor, she is unbreakable! And I listened to the new material...it is really lived, sad, and raw, much like the ballads of Marianne Faithfull, who, despite battling many of the same demons, was never obstracized and considered "uncool" like Courtney.

To those who want "something new"...This is what she was ready to share, and we should accept her limits. If you look closely, it is a lot.
I wish her the very best.
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