Shucks Mahoney’s #CBRV Review #10: Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair, and Post-Punk from the Middle East to the Lower East Side by Rayya Elias

Yeesh, this was so promising – Hairdressing Confidential from a queer would-be post-punk superstar. But while Elias has lived through interesting times (Detroit’s punk scene, beauty school, New York in the 80s, Rikers Island, the world of high fashion, shooting galleries) she has a bad habit of telling rather than showing. She’s a really talented musician, and a brilliant hairdresser too, we’re told over and over, but there’s precious little of substance devoted to either subject. Mostly, this is the story of a woman who managed not to ruin her life with a massive drug habit. But addiction memoirs can’t just rely on a laundry list of hits scored and dirty deeds done cheap. This is too drab a read to live up to the juicy subtitle. I’d recommend Kristen Johnson’s compelling Guts in its place as a story of a creative outsider who almost blew it all but saved herself. I’m sure Elias makes for great company but her book wilts on the page.

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