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Tempered glass

Cover of Face It
A review of Face It by Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry's autobiography Face It is a beautifully packaged book. The cover and paper stock are exceptionally high quality and the pages are filled with photographs and fan art never before shared with the public. I loved all of this. I have happy memories of dancing around in my cousin's bedroom to Blondie's Autoamerican in 1981 and thought "Rapture" was the best thing I'd ever heard. Almost 40 years later and I still think that's true.

It's affirmed throughout the pages of this book that Debbie Harry is not only a talented and radical trailblazer, beautiful and über cool, she's seriously eccentric. She describes some unusual behaviors like obsessively saving and flushing nail clippings in order to protect her DNA, a fascination with coal bins and an early childhood habit of sneaking into the coal bin in her family home to play, receiving mathematical messages from the TV, and a suspicion of sprang-a-langs (devilish, coiled deviants threatening to betray the human race). Say what now, Debbie?

The chapters of the book are not exactly in chronological order and the stories are a bit disjointed. Being the front woman in a rock band and living in NYC during the late 60s and 70s was a wild and scary adventure. Debbie nonchalantly describes being raped and accosted, using heroin, cocaine, marijuana, opium (is smack also heroin? I lost track at this point) but she lives to tell the tale. Her partner Chris Stein nearly died and she was forced into bankruptcy because of poor business management. Rather than fall apart, she developed a heart of "tempered glass" to spoof the famous Blondie hit "Heart of Glass."  That gives you an idea of her sense of humor and how her role as a rock icon has hardened her over the years. 

At this stage of her life, Debbie Harry is living as a normal citizen while her legacy follows her around. She's genuine, strives to be a good person and cares about the earth and others around her. This book is a loving tribute and fascinating glimpse into the life of one of the first women to set the standard for all women in rock.

Dec 12, 2019