By Tracey Thorn
There’s something about being in your 50s that makes you want to revisit your teens. To go back to the place you grew up and rediscover the girl you were and the events and people that impacted on your life. And seeing your teenage self with fresh eyes and the benefit of wisdom can bring a mental recalibration of how things truly were – and how they are now.
Tracey Thorn’s Another Planet describes the tedium of growing up in a dull commuter village in minute detail. It’s peppered throughout with diary entries from her teenage years, many of which focus on what didn’t happen, like fruitless clothes shopping trips, buses that didn’t come and discos she didn’t get to. Life’s non-events. Stifled, she yearned for excitement and eventually to escape.
Of course since then very much has happened in Thorn’s life, from starting the band The Marine Girls as a teen, to world-wide success with Everything But the Girl which she formed while still at university – and not forgetting raising three children. And now she’s an author too and a very fine one.
With the greater understanding of her late parents that comes with middle age and seeing her own daughters entering adulthood, in Another Planet she views her teen angst wryly. “Looking back from my now so-very-adult perspective – me in my mid-fifties, a wife, a parent, facing the empty nest myself – I can’t quite get to grips with the level of boredom and misery that seemed to engulf me… Who even is that person? I don’t think I know her.” Whether it’s her music or her written words, Thorn always makes me feel less alone and Another Planet is thoughtful, funny and poignant.