If you’ve ever been part of a group project, such as a theater production, a choir, or an athletic team, you are familiar with the feeling of being on the inside, knowing the inside jokes, getting the references that people on the ‘outside’ wouldn’t get. Being a teenager in the eighties was just like that. Those of us who ripened in the age of INxS have a pop cultural cadence and vocabulary all our own (Duckie! Goonies! Inigo Montoya!), and if you weren’t that age at that time, you just don’t get it.
Rob Scheffield gets it. Reading Talking to Girls About Duran Duran is like finding that secret box under your bed that you’ve forgotten about, in which you used to store all of your favorite things. Each chapter brings recognition and delight, as we rediscover some of our favorite feelings, songs, and history from our adolescence. At the same time, the book gently chronicles the struggles of adolescence, the warring impulses to both fit in and to stand out. This book is universal in its overarching themes, but startlingly intimate in its familiarity with exactly it meant to be a teenager in the eighties. Two big thumbs up!