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Petal Pusher: A Rock and Roll Cinderella Story Hardcover – May 8, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Sharp and sensitive, stoned silly and serious, all in the right places, Lindeen's account of her life as guitarist and songwriter for Zuzu's Petals is a love song (played really fast) for the postpunk or Amer-indie scene of mid-1980s Minneapolis, when bands like the Replacements and Soul Asylum had yet to move from cult heroes to major-label artists. It was also the time when Lindeen, a music-loving, four-time college dropout with multiple sclerosis, could guilelessly decide to "start a band and make that exciting life of song and guitar feedback, travel and intrigue, carousing and cavorting our own." What Lindeen finds at first is fulfillment and self-confidence on stage, and at the end a hard cycle of "drive, eat, go to a bar for sound check, hang out, play" that leads to her breaking up the band. In between, along with some touching scenes from her youth, Lindeen skillfully details great and not-so-great gigs, horrible hotels, wonderful (if weird) fans, boyfriends and all sorts of strange events and locations ("The walls are covered with black Astroturf"). After paying her dues, Lindeen finds love and marriage in ex-Replacements leader Paul Westerberg, which brings it all back home for her—and her readers—in what is a truly wonderful book about life in rock music. (June)
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From Booklist

The cofounder of all-girl rock band Zuzu's Petals effortlessly captures the indie-rock world of the 1980s and 1990s. She started her rock career in Minneapolis, moving there with two best friends. Her favorite musicians and bands (Prince, Soul Asylum, the Replacements, the Jayhawks) hail from there, she says, and besides, it's the hometown of Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore's TV-series character): "like maybe I could make it after all," Lindeen ventures. Turns out, she married Replacements lead singer Paul Westerberg. She recalls the Petals' first, Labor Day 1988 gig at a Minneapolis bar (they barely had enough material for a set). She writes about their cross-country and international tours of various dives and pubs--hardly the stuff of glamour--and her sweet first date with Westerberg. What makes her story unusual--and poignant--is her eventual diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, which only makes her work harder. Petal Pusher's behind-the-scenes aura ought to impress readers beyond rock-memoir mavens and Replacements (and other midwestern rockers') fans. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1st Atria Books Hardcover Ed edition (May 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743292324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743292320
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #977,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alis on May 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating, memoir of an unusual journey. Laurie goes from overcoming a debilitating diagnoses of a chronic illness to achieving rock success with a national tour. This is a truthful assessment of the real world of rock and roll in all it's raw, gritty glory. In a country obsessed with fame, it is refreshing to remember people who play music and compose music because they love it. It is a love story, to rock, to her husband and her family. Laurie shows a mastery of nonfiction. I love this book! Check out this cd A Pregnant Pause
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a former female rocker wannabe, I found Laurie Lindeen's journey through rock music sobering and enlightening, and completely compelling to read. I played a bit of electric guitar as a teenager, but after going along for a ride through Laurie's exploits, I'm glad I chose a different career path. Life for a struggling female punk rock band is anything but glamorous. Hilarious at moments, yes, but the dark, gritty side of playing night after night in sleazy clubs is anything but alluring. Laurie's band, Zuzu's Petals, had moments that seemed to indicate they were on the verge of hitting it big, but despite an intense level of commitment and hard work for many years, their dream was never realized.

I'm glad to vicariously live the rock lifestyle through Ms. Lindeen's words. You can tell she's a musician, for her writing has a wonderful rhythm. The author's candor and willingness to reveal less-than-perfect parts of her personality made her story extremely universal. I could totally relate to Laurie's lack of self-confidence, and self-deprecating humor.

If you want to read a well-written, intelligent, poignant, and funny-as-hell rock story, look no further. This is definitely not a chick-only book either. My husband heard me laughing so hard, he wants to read it too. Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ria Darling VINE VOICE on May 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'll admit to reading this book because of Paul Westerberg but Lindeen MORE than holds her own. She is an articulate writer who paints a vivid picture of band life in the early 90's for a band that always seemed to fly below the radar. She struggles with a lot of issues women struggle with-school,men,career, family-and all of these through a lens of her own health concerns. While sometimes her motivations for doing something (moving, starting a band) are a bit vague and not fully explored, this is a good read and refreshing from the 'I'm with the Band' to I AM the band from a female p.o.v.

And yes, this totally made me get out my Zuzu's Petals cds (yes, I have them BOTH) and play 'Johanne" and you'll want to as well.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer M. Hunter on June 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
just finished a page turner. It's called "Petal Pusher" and "it's a A Rock and Roll Cinderella Story". I always wanted to be in a band, but only watched curiously from the sidelines. )Unless, of course, you count my 15 minutes to fame as one of many backup singers to a famous girl band, a couple of times...) This book is tough to put down and easy to read. It's gritty and real and puts you right there. No bull. I give the author kudos for following her dreams and going after it. That takes guts! While reading it, I could almost feel the sludge of being on the road. I could smell the lingering beer and smoke in the clubs, and the hangovers of one's youth. I was a fly on the wall, and I enjoyed the challenging ride.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mhill157 on September 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is probably the first book I've read about a rock band that seemed utterly real -- no self-mythologizing, just an unvarnished look at what it takes to pick up a guitar, make a record, go out on the road. Laurie doesn't let herself off easy, and her utter candor about her actions and emotions along the way is sometimes very moving. It makes me wish I had gone to see Zuzu's Petals when they finally made it to CBGB's. (Where was I that night?) Petal Pusher was heartbreaking at times, but also funny and sweet and full of the kind of unstoppable youthful bravado that would allow three women to jump in a van and drive and drive and drive to often thankless gigs.

I'm glad she survived it all with her memories, perspective and sense of humor intact and decided to share them with us. Petal Pusher reads like a diary and feels like the truth.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Romancing the Book on September 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Reviewed by Melissa C
Book provided by the author for review
Originally posted at Romancing the Book

This novel was a delight to read. It has all the components of a good fairy tale with a twist of real life. I think that all artists, in all sorts of professions, can relate to the struggles in this novel. The feeling of wanting to accomplish something in your life is something that everyone can relate to, but the feeling of wanting your work to be heard or published or viewed is something that the artist wants. Laurie Lindeen does a really good job of hooking the audience, and keeping it hooked. As soon as I was done reading the book, I had to look up Zuzu Petals on Youtube. It is a great story about overcoming obstacles, and knowing what you want to do in life. Then, life can throw some curves your way. I wish that I could have had some of the experiences that she went through. In addition, no fairy tale is complete without a little love and excitement in the personal life, and Laurie does not disappoint in that area. The romance spread throughout the novel is one of the best, which is that of meeting that special someone and developing a deeper relationship as time passes. The novel definitely touches chords in everyone, and I think that it is a novel that everyone must read, especially those in the arts. I also think it is a great novel for younger generations to read. I am part of an entirely different generation than the ones mentioned in the book, and it was interesting for me to read some of these events that happened in her life. It makes me want to go out and have some different experiences for myself. Petal Pusher is a fantastic novel to read!
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