The Diaries of Courtney Love.
Edited by Ava Stander.
Illustrated. 292 pp. Faber & Faber. $35.
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.