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A stunningly candid and inspiring memoir of recovery from addiction and the '90s, by Hole drummer Patty Schemel Patty Schemel was a drummer at the epicenter of the Seattle grunge scene in the early '90s, best known for her work with the alternative rock band Hole. Hit So Hard begins with stories from a childhood informed by the AA meetings Schemel's parents hosted in the A stunningly candid and inspiring memoir of recovery from addiction and the '90s, by Hole drummer Patty Schemel Patty Schemel was a drummer at the epicenter of the Seattle grunge scene in the early '90s, best known for her work with the alternative rock band Hole. Hit So Hard begins with stories from a childhood informed by the AA meetings Schemel's parents hosted in the family living room. Their divorce triggered her rebellious adolescence and first forays into drinking at age 11, which coincided with her passion for punk rock and playing drums. Her efforts to come to terms with her sexuality further drove her memorably hard playing, and by the late '80s Schemel was performing regularly in well-regarded bands in Tacoma, Seattle, and Olympia. She met Kurt Cobain at a Melvins show, pre-Nirvana, and less than five years later she would be living with him and his wife, Hole front-woman Courtney Love, at the height of his fame and on the cusp of hers. As Hole's new drummer, Schemel contributed memorable, driving drum parts to hits like "Beautiful Son," "Violet," "Doll Parts," and "Miss World." But the band was plagued by tragedy and addiction, and by the time Hole went on tour in support of their ironically titled and critically acclaimed album Live Through This in 1994, both Cobain and Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff were dead at age 27. With surprising candor and wit, Schemel intimately documents the events surrounding her exit from the band in 1998 that lead to her dramatic descent into a life of homelessness and crime on the streets of Los Angeles and the difficult but rewarding path to sobriety after over twenty serious attempts to get clean. Hit So Hard chronicles the extraordinary coming of age of a musician and an addict during the last great era of rock 'n' roll excess.


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A stunningly candid and inspiring memoir of recovery from addiction and the '90s, by Hole drummer Patty Schemel Patty Schemel was a drummer at the epicenter of the Seattle grunge scene in the early '90s, best known for her work with the alternative rock band Hole. Hit So Hard begins with stories from a childhood informed by the AA meetings Schemel's parents hosted in the A stunningly candid and inspiring memoir of recovery from addiction and the '90s, by Hole drummer Patty Schemel Patty Schemel was a drummer at the epicenter of the Seattle grunge scene in the early '90s, best known for her work with the alternative rock band Hole. Hit So Hard begins with stories from a childhood informed by the AA meetings Schemel's parents hosted in the family living room. Their divorce triggered her rebellious adolescence and first forays into drinking at age 11, which coincided with her passion for punk rock and playing drums. Her efforts to come to terms with her sexuality further drove her memorably hard playing, and by the late '80s Schemel was performing regularly in well-regarded bands in Tacoma, Seattle, and Olympia. She met Kurt Cobain at a Melvins show, pre-Nirvana, and less than five years later she would be living with him and his wife, Hole front-woman Courtney Love, at the height of his fame and on the cusp of hers. As Hole's new drummer, Schemel contributed memorable, driving drum parts to hits like "Beautiful Son," "Violet," "Doll Parts," and "Miss World." But the band was plagued by tragedy and addiction, and by the time Hole went on tour in support of their ironically titled and critically acclaimed album Live Through This in 1994, both Cobain and Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff were dead at age 27. With surprising candor and wit, Schemel intimately documents the events surrounding her exit from the band in 1998 that lead to her dramatic descent into a life of homelessness and crime on the streets of Los Angeles and the difficult but rewarding path to sobriety after over twenty serious attempts to get clean. Hit So Hard chronicles the extraordinary coming of age of a musician and an addict during the last great era of rock 'n' roll excess.

30 review for Hit So Hard: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Masterson

    Raw, real, and absolutely amazing! I don’t know why this book is not getting more attention! Patty’s story is pretty incredible. I had no idea the path her life took. The only thing I knew about her was that she had been in the band Hole and was a big part of the Seattle grunge scene. She talks candidly about her time with many famous musicians, including Curt Cobain and of course Courtney Love. She went from being on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine to living on the streets turning tricks fo Raw, real, and absolutely amazing! I don’t know why this book is not getting more attention! Patty’s story is pretty incredible. I had no idea the path her life took. The only thing I knew about her was that she had been in the band Hole and was a big part of the Seattle grunge scene. She talks candidly about her time with many famous musicians, including Curt Cobain and of course Courtney Love. She went from being on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine to living on the streets turning tricks for drugs. She also talks very openly about being a lesbian. I listened to the audio. Patty telling her own story added to the books impact. Highly recommended!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Blake Fraina

    David Johansen of the New York Dolls likened an addict’s existence to the film Groundhog Day. The incessant quest for drugs, to the exclusion of all else, makes every day exactly like the one(s) before it. He was referring specifically to his bandmate, Johnny Thunders, but he could just as easily have been describing the life of former Hole drummer, Patty Schemel. I love a good rock memoir. I’ll take a pass on recent bestsellers by big stars, like Keith Richards, Dylan or Springsteen, instead opt David Johansen of the New York Dolls likened an addict’s existence to the film Groundhog Day. The incessant quest for drugs, to the exclusion of all else, makes every day exactly like the one(s) before it. He was referring specifically to his bandmate, Johnny Thunders, but he could just as easily have been describing the life of former Hole drummer, Patty Schemel. I love a good rock memoir. I’ll take a pass on recent bestsellers by big stars, like Keith Richards, Dylan or Springsteen, instead opting for the story of a supporting player or some underground/cult band. Unlike an autobiography, a memoir tends to focus on one aspect of a person’s life and Schemel’s is definitely the story of her addiction. If you’re looking for detailed remembrances of touring, gigs, recording sessions, interviews, photo shoots and award ceremonies, you really won’t find that here. While there are references to all of those things, they’re filtered through the lens of someone who could barely appreciate any of it because the need for alcohol, then heroin and, ultimately, crack cocaine is always first and foremost in her mind. There’s very little glamour to be found in this book and I’m sure that’s intentional. It’s a truly frightening story, and fascinating in so far as I hadn’t realized the human body could endure so much abuse and still come out the other side relatively unscathed. And, thankfully, make it out she eventually does, but be patient, dear reader, she takes you on one long, hellish journey [until nearly the end of the book’s 270 pages] before she finds redemption. In a twisted kind of way, this was an entertaining read. I wasn’t all that into music in the 1990’s so I was not aware of how many accomplished and still productive artists came out of that Pacific Northwest scene. Mark Lanegan and members of Alice in Chains, Screaming Trees, Bikini Kill, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Built to Spill, among others, all make brief appearances at clubs, in shared rehearsal spaces and/or on the sofa of the local drug dealer. Not to mention, of course, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, grunge’s answer to Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, with all their personal drama. After I finished the book, I sought out the documentary of the same name, which was made in 2012. It doesn’t go into nearly as much minute detail regarding the extent of Schemel’s addictions, but it does show more of her personality, which doesn’t come across at all in the book. Pity, because she seems like a pretty cool person. Someone in the documentary refers to her as one of the funniest people they ever met…well, I got absolutely no sense of that from the book. Courtney Love, on the other hand, really leaps off the page. Despite the fact that her appearances in the story are somewhat limited and fairly brief, her fierce intelligence and biting wit create a breath of fresh air in an otherwise fairly claustrophobic tale. No matter your opinion of Love, it really illustrates why some people become stars. This is a gripping story, but not for the faint of heart. My only complaint is with the final chapter which feels more like an inspirational speech than the resolution to such a harrowing ordeal. But far be it for me to take away something so hard earned. Recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jen from Quebec :0)

    A gripping look at addiction within the music industry. Even better is that Patty was the drummer for HOLE at the height of their popularity in the 90s, so she has incredible stories to tell even *without* the harrowing heroin addiction tales. She has great stories about Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain among other notable musicians, and the story takes place during Kurt's suicide, so there are insights about that as well. As a girl who loved both Nirvana and HOLE, this book was great. It was made A gripping look at addiction within the music industry. Even better is that Patty was the drummer for HOLE at the height of their popularity in the 90s, so she has incredible stories to tell even *without* the harrowing heroin addiction tales. She has great stories about Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain among other notable musicians, and the story takes place during Kurt's suicide, so there are insights about that as well. As a girl who loved both Nirvana and HOLE, this book was great. It was made even BETTER because I 'read' the audio version, and it was Patty herself who narrated, which was awesome. Good for anyone who likes memoirs, addiction stories, music, or the 90's alternative/grunge scene. --Jen from Quebec :0)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Hit So Hard is the memoir of Patty Schemel, the drummer to the 90s grunge rock band Hole and largely details her battle with substance abuse and climb back to sobriety. After watching the 2011 Hit So Hard documentary, while seeking an update on Schemel, I learned she had written a memoir of the same name released in 2017. In both the documentary and memoir, Schemel is frank and appears quite honest in the detailing of her struggles of both substance abuse and her sexuality. She is also very graci Hit So Hard is the memoir of Patty Schemel, the drummer to the 90s grunge rock band Hole and largely details her battle with substance abuse and climb back to sobriety. After watching the 2011 Hit So Hard documentary, while seeking an update on Schemel, I learned she had written a memoir of the same name released in 2017. In both the documentary and memoir, Schemel is frank and appears quite honest in the detailing of her struggles of both substance abuse and her sexuality. She is also very gracious in all aspects of the documentary and memoir. When watching the documentary and reading her memoir, the viewer and reader strongly grow to root for all to turn out well for Schemel in her struggles. She does not shy away from the most difficult of details or try to excuse her behavior. In both, the documentary and book, a quite humble and charismatic Schemel takes full responsibility for her abuses and where one might expect her to blame others or incidents for her abuses, she does not do that. Instead of blaming others for her spiral to the bottom, she provides reasons why she believes she became addicted to substances, rather than dishing out blame. Her willingness not to hand out blame is an insight into her true, admirable character. Oddly, when the reader learns more about one incident that does appear to have initiated the start of her darkest period, the reader most likely will point a finger at her bandmates, especially Courtney Love and an abusive music producer. as more than partly responsible. Hit So Hard could have been a salacious "tell-all" memoir filled with dirt tidbits and gossip on all sorts of other people, but Schemel does not do that and only offers the deepest personal items pertaining to her self and her behavior. She does tell stories about other celebrities and musicians, but not tales that are not already known or overtly cruel. When she does tell negatively revealing stores of others, names are kindly left out. While the memoir is dark, with harrowing descriptions and honest insight of a substance abuser, it does end on an uplifting note with Schemel maintaining her sobriety. Hit So Hard is highly recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jayne Lamb

    'Hit So Hard' is certainly readable, but I'd hoped to hear a bit more about Schemel's experiences as a drummer - this is very much a memoir of heroin addiction from the get-go, not one to read if you are in a position of recent sobriety. Makes me want to seek out the 2012 documentary though for sure.. 'Hit So Hard' is certainly readable, but I'd hoped to hear a bit more about Schemel's experiences as a drummer - this is very much a memoir of heroin addiction from the get-go, not one to read if you are in a position of recent sobriety. Makes me want to seek out the 2012 documentary though for sure..

  6. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Allison

    So real. So raw. So brutally honest. I related to her story in so many ways—being a drummer, heroin addict, kicked out of bands, homeless, and having a near death experience. The only reason I didn’t give a 5 was all because of Courtney Love and her insensitive comments. She’s so arrogant. Talentless. That wasn’t her band, it was Patty (the Author) who ran the show, the band. Go Patty!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Juliette

    3.5 Stars-I was a huge fan of Hole as a teenager. I saw Hole (with Patty Schemel drumming) in Minneapolis/St.Paul a few times: opening for Nine Inch Nails (Courtney threw baby barettes at us!), headlining at First Avenue (Courtney told Kurt & Babes in Toyland stories!), and at Lollapalooza 1995 (Courtney was an angry mess!). Needless to say, I was stoked to read Patty's memoir. Patty Schemel grew up in a Washington home with AA parents; AA meetings were held in her parents' living room. She star 3.5 Stars-I was a huge fan of Hole as a teenager. I saw Hole (with Patty Schemel drumming) in Minneapolis/St.Paul a few times: opening for Nine Inch Nails (Courtney threw baby barettes at us!), headlining at First Avenue (Courtney told Kurt & Babes in Toyland stories!), and at Lollapalooza 1995 (Courtney was an angry mess!). Needless to say, I was stoked to read Patty's memoir. Patty Schemel grew up in a Washington home with AA parents; AA meetings were held in her parents' living room. She started drinking at age 12, struggled with her sexuality, and bounced around angrily after her parents' divorce. She played in Seattle bands, and eventually her friend Kurt (Cobain) suggested she play in Courtney's band Hole. Fast forward to lots of travel and lots of drugs. Schemel ended up homeless at times, engaged in sex work to survive, and went in & out of rehab. It's insane that she survived. This memoir is interesting if you were a fan of Hole, but it's sort of unorganized and jumps around a lot. It also lacks a lot of major details, such as the 2012 documentary about Schemel (also called Hit So Hard), or even anything about an eventual Hole reunion. It seems like she is only close with Melissa, maybe, but is estranged from Eric? Is she on good terms with Courtney? It ended too soon, too. I wanted to know more about her life now beyond the quick wrap-up summary of being sober and having a wife & daughter. Schemel seems like an amazingly strong person and I would have loved to read more.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Well this book was way better than I predicted. Writing is solid, and the description of addiction is unbelievably honest. I need to go listen to Celebrity Skin 11,000 times now, see you guys later

  9. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    I loved the story and hearing it from Patty’s own voice. It was hard to hear how dark it got, and she is one of the lucky ones. Thrilled that some of these icons have emerged into the light, certainly not unscathed, but with lives touched by light, and still making music.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kez

    the road to redemption is a long and twisted one. Patty had it all - talent, funny, was a trailblazer in her field, and addiction. if you had seen the documentary Hits So Hard you only know part of Pat's journey. The video diaries, photos, initmate.moments with rock God's and goddesses. The book goes deeper, inward. You follow her down the rabbit hole of success, addiction, and bad choices. You see how she had it and yet was losing it all. this book isnt just for any Hole fan, but for music fans the road to redemption is a long and twisted one. Patty had it all - talent, funny, was a trailblazer in her field, and addiction. if you had seen the documentary Hits So Hard you only know part of Pat's journey. The video diaries, photos, initmate.moments with rock God's and goddesses. The book goes deeper, inward. You follow her down the rabbit hole of success, addiction, and bad choices. You see how she had it and yet was losing it all. this book isnt just for any Hole fan, but for music fans, and anyone who has suffered with mental health and the issues that go along with it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ocean

    hole is one of my favorite bands of all time, and (as patty wearily points out in one of the last chapters of her book) i am one of those tiresome fans whose life was forever changed when she very casually came out as gay in the pages of "rolling stone," in 1995--an era where that usually wasn't done without a high professional and personal cost. i saw "hit so hard" the documentary, OF COURSE, and it was pretty good, so i was excited for this book. and...it was disappointing, to say the least. th hole is one of my favorite bands of all time, and (as patty wearily points out in one of the last chapters of her book) i am one of those tiresome fans whose life was forever changed when she very casually came out as gay in the pages of "rolling stone," in 1995--an era where that usually wasn't done without a high professional and personal cost. i saw "hit so hard" the documentary, OF COURSE, and it was pretty good, so i was excited for this book. and...it was disappointing, to say the least. the main thing is, there's no story. or rather, there is, but she is incapable of telling it in an interesting way. there's no details at all--events jump around, whole years are summed up in a sentence. patty is super cold and comes across as a truly terrible girlfriend, openly using women, cheating on them, breaking their hearts with no remorse. she acts annoyed that her dying father wants her to take care of him (after he's bailed her out many times) and leaves him to play drums and do drugs. i get that that's a complicated issue, and i'm sure there's a lot going on that she's left out, but she comes across as vaguely sociopathic. i went from feeling positive/neutral about her to kinda hating her after reading this book. i would listen to the audiobook a half hour at a time as i was drifting off and patty's monotone delivery did lull me to sleep, but it didn't make for a compelling reading experience. i'm not someone who struggles with addiction to hard drugs, but i'd warn those of you who do--this book is basically a love letter to heroin, with an affair with crack, and could be really triggering for those who are struggling with this issue. oh and one last thing--she talks about making out with kristen pfaff (hole's bass player who died a few months after kurt), refers to her as "a straight girl" and then in the next sentence mentions that she used to date a woman and one of her favorite books was "stone butch blues." um? what? those are not the actions of a straight woman. i didn't know that kristen pfaff was bi and i was glad to learn that but geez, how it was portrayed (and erased) deeply annoyed me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tobi

    I read this in 2017 but chose it as a staff pick for 2018. Here's the review I wrote for work: Before Patty Schemel played drums in Hole, she was a vital part of underground music here in the Pacific Northwest. Hit So Hard tells the story of those pre-grunge days well, chronicling Schemel's time in early bands such as The Primitives, Doll Squad, and Sybil, when she was one of only a few young women playing drums in a male dominated punk scene, heroically inspiring other teenage girls to follow he I read this in 2017 but chose it as a staff pick for 2018. Here's the review I wrote for work: Before Patty Schemel played drums in Hole, she was a vital part of underground music here in the Pacific Northwest. Hit So Hard tells the story of those pre-grunge days well, chronicling Schemel's time in early bands such as The Primitives, Doll Squad, and Sybil, when she was one of only a few young women playing drums in a male dominated punk scene, heroically inspiring other teenage girls to follow her lead. The story of her time with Hole documents how destructive drugs can be to creativity and is heartfelt in its frank realness about addiction and loss. Part of Patty Schemel's life in the 90's was glamorous and exciting and part of it involved living on the street and experiencing a very dark, challenging series of events. This is ultimately a gritty, authentic story about a hardworking musician overcoming obstacles of sexism and homophobia and surviving heroin addiction. I recommend this book to fans of local music history, #ownvoices, LGBTQ memoir, and stories about women in rock-n-roll.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Waverly Fitzgerald

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I love memoirs of recovery but there has to be something for me other than a long list of events. This is just a list of facts. We did this. I did that. I had that relationship. I went here and played that. We wrote this song together. It’s absent of either style, literary, or personality. I blame some of that on the ghost writer or editor because I suspect Schemel herself has quite a strong personality, but it's not obvious in the writing. I love memoirs of recovery but there has to be something for me other than a long list of events. This is just a list of facts. We did this. I did that. I had that relationship. I went here and played that. We wrote this song together. It’s absent of either style, literary, or personality. I blame some of that on the ghost writer or editor because I suspect Schemel herself has quite a strong personality, but it's not obvious in the writing.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    patty schemel was the drummer of hole, and hole is one of my favorite bands - top three - so I am surprised this wasn't on my radar - it came out in 2017 and I just saw it the other day. I was excited to read it. I am currently deciding if I am going to keep my copy or pass it on. I have lol tolhurst's memoir cured, he was the drummer/keyboardist in another of my top three bands, the cure, and similarly it is a tale of addiction and dysfunction and recovery. I will say, although schemel is an al patty schemel was the drummer of hole, and hole is one of my favorite bands - top three - so I am surprised this wasn't on my radar - it came out in 2017 and I just saw it the other day. I was excited to read it. I am currently deciding if I am going to keep my copy or pass it on. I have lol tolhurst's memoir cured, he was the drummer/keyboardist in another of my top three bands, the cure, and similarly it is a tale of addiction and dysfunction and recovery. I will say, although schemel is an alcoholic, she was in a 90s seattle grunge band, so largely this is the story of her heroin (and later crack) addiction. it is really grim. it sounds like a lot of memoirs, maybe written by talking into a tape recorder. this is not a beautifully written literary memoir. there are many points where she skips ahead and then goes back or repeats things. part of the issue is I think that one of the whole points of addiction is to blunt feeling, so for the events of a lot of the book, schemel herself wouldn't have had or identified her own feelings about them, so she can't really tell the reader. one of the most shocking aspects of the book is that her parents were recovering alcoholics who were extremely involved in AA as schemel and her two siblings grew up, but did not seem to notice at all as their three children started drinking and smoking pot at ages 14, 12 (patty), and 11. there was a divorce and some benign neglect, schemel was gay and struggling with that, and she seemed to be just generally prone to rage even as a young child, but otherwise there wasn't any unusual trauma. just that description you always get from memoirs of alcoholism/addiction of that first sip warming through the entire body and taking away all the self-loathing and discomfort. basically, they should teach kids in school, hey, if the first time you take a drink, this is your experience, save yourselves decades of pain and immediately go into recovery and never take drugs or alcohol again. probably won't work. so schemel plays the drums and by all accounts she's quite gifted and she's drawn to music so she just leaves high school and sort of goes and joins bands, and this all coincides with the rise of the seattle scene and everyone is sort of there together - the members of nirvana, of alice in chains, screaming trees, etc. etc. and she just sort of falls in with them and is carried along. she does describe moments of getting into heroin and triggers for it but there is never a place where she describes realizing what she is getting herself into or the mindset I imagine someone must have to just say fuck it all and start a heroin addiction. the sort of centerpiece of the downfall are the deaths, in close succession, of kurt cobain by suicide (and schemel addresses some of the conspiracy theories about how no one could take that much heroin and still be functional enough to pull the trigger of the gun by saying she regularly saw kurt take that much heroin, his tolerance was just that high) and then hole's bassist kirsten pfaff by what seems like an accidental OD. pretty much everyone on the scene is doing heroin, although interestingly often not in each other's presence, it seems she only shot up with courtney love once, and so addicts are staging interventions for worse off addicts and coping with deaths by using more heroin and so on. and it just goes on. as a drummer, schemel wasn't making crazy money from being in the band, although she does get influxes of cash - when she got kicked out, she got $175K, which I don't think lasted even a year. she basically cheats on all her girlfriends, loses all her jobs, sells all her equipment and memorabilia, ends up on the streets, does dozens of stints in detoxes and rehabs and halfway houses and eventually gets clean. most of the grim centers on herself. other than kurt and kristen's deaths, and chris cornell's death that gets mentioned near the end of the book, she doesn't really chronicle the body count for the scene. she mentions hanging out with scott weiland at a dealer's house and layne staley, but she doesn't talk about their deaths. I think I would have liked a little more commentary on the scene and her view about why it has such a high concentration of deaths. anyway, it wasn't fantastically written, despite it being a recovery story, it wasn't what I would call uplifting, but for me being a fan it was worth reading.

  15. 4 out of 5

    N.P. Ryan

    When starting, I found it almost impossible to put down; by the end I couldn’t wait to. Some of the totally self-absorbed, self-entitled behaviour and opinions of people mentioned thoroughly pissed me off. In fact, after about the first 20% pretty much everything pissed me off. Bleak, bland, repetitive, boring, grey and depressing. Precisely how addiction is. So, a work of utter genius that really brings the crass tedium home? Maybe. Let’s address the elephant in the book. In the first few pages When starting, I found it almost impossible to put down; by the end I couldn’t wait to. Some of the totally self-absorbed, self-entitled behaviour and opinions of people mentioned thoroughly pissed me off. In fact, after about the first 20% pretty much everything pissed me off. Bleak, bland, repetitive, boring, grey and depressing. Precisely how addiction is. So, a work of utter genius that really brings the crass tedium home? Maybe. Let’s address the elephant in the book. In the first few pages a musician of worldwide fame is cited as an influence. Only thing, their name is spelled incorrectly. In a book written by a musician predominately about their time as a musician . . . (actually, I’m not 100% on this point – is it predominately about the music or addiction?) It’s bizarre that Schemel could miss it re-reading her work, though not entirely out of the question; being a musician and drug addict are probably the most justifiable reasons for poor literacy skills; plus, when looking at one’s work, one’s brain can be super convincing when it comes to seeing what it thinks is there. It isn’t the only error; there’s even a couple of sentences that read more like incomplete notes someone decided shouldn’t be there while equally feeling they couldn’t take out. In those respects, the book reads like it’s at the top end of self-publishing. Unfortunately the book instead claims a co-writer, an editor and publisher. The further in it goes, the more it feels rushed; as though another little bit of interest is being lost with every development of the next page. Things become list-like, underdeveloped as far as a finished product goes. At the same time, this is a person retelling going through the most degrading things they’ve ever done and will hopefully ever do; the iciness and distance could indeed represent very real feelings instead of ever increasing budget and time restraints – there’s no reasonable circumstance where I can image the author wanting to dwell in descriptive flowery language or mention the fun nose-ring another user is wearing to help brighten proceedings in the drug den. Still, I’m not convinced, while equally not wanting to say anything disingenuous about the retelling of an experience I have no firsthand knowledge of. To represent that neutrality would make this book a three star rating; that, though, isn’t true to how I feel about it. I’m also not sure a two star rating is entirely a bad thing for a book about drug addiction; it’s hardly meant to be fun and light or leave one glowing. Ultimately, though, this book is more about the face on the cover than the subject matter, and how those with fingers in this particular publishing pie might have wound up with far more than their fair share.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brook

    I’m unapologetically obsessed with rock memoirs, especially those involving 80s hair bands and the grunge scene. This one is compelling from the rock and roll memoir standpoint but also from the perspective of being a visceral, poignant, harrowing account of addiction.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carolannecat

    One of the best rock memoirs I've ever read. Fascinating and insightful!!! One of the best rock memoirs I've ever read. Fascinating and insightful!!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Mankowski

    Heartbreaking-ly hopeful emo: "I knew that somehow music would take me somewhere better and it did." Heartbreaking-ly hopeful emo: "I knew that somehow music would take me somewhere better and it did."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kate B. Roseglass

    Felt like it could be a companion piece to Scar Tissue in a way. She even mentions RHCP a few times throughout. I do wish there was more! It would get to something good, I’d flip the page and it’d be a new chapter, different subject. I felt like everything happened so fast that I was missing something. I suppose it could be that’s just how it went. Well written and exciting the entire time.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    4.5 stars

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gilly Hanner

    Brutal, well written and thoroughly exhausting tale of addiction framed in the context of the exploding Seattle music scene in the early 90’s. The facts of being a queer female drummer who succeeds in a world where that was still relatively rare are eclipsed by the overwhelming reality of just needing to get high over and over and over again, forever. I couldn’t breathe until I finished reading it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erin Hannan

    Jesus CHRIST, Patty! Firstly, congratulations on staying sober for so long, and continuing to work on it. You’re bad ass. (I’m just gonna pretend you might read this.) This totally explains why we never knew much about you. When you didn’t do the Celebrity Skin tour, I just assumed that you could only hang with Courtney’s shit for so long. I’d say this is a must read for Hole fans, but maybe over a certain age? I was a teenager in the 90s and I knew that there were rock stars who did heroin, and Jesus CHRIST, Patty! Firstly, congratulations on staying sober for so long, and continuing to work on it. You’re bad ass. (I’m just gonna pretend you might read this.) This totally explains why we never knew much about you. When you didn’t do the Celebrity Skin tour, I just assumed that you could only hang with Courtney’s shit for so long. I’d say this is a must read for Hole fans, but maybe over a certain age? I was a teenager in the 90s and I knew that there were rock stars who did heroin, and some that overdosed, but I could not have grasped what that really meant. This is the heaviest recovery memoir I have EVER read. Dang, this is also a great chronicle of 90s Seattle rock and roll history. Hole is my favorite band, hands down. Live Through This is still amazing, and I’m glad you lived through it. P.S. The profile pic is me in 10th grade or so. I think you can see my Hole shirt. I didn’t put the pic up to kiss your ass. It’s the one I’ve had the whole time. P.P.S. On the very off chance that someone from acidstars is reading, this is sequin, and I still think about you guys.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Niccola Nelson

    I am so glad Patty decided to write a memoir and I’m astonished that she actually lived to write about it. (She used heroin for 14 years and smoked crack for 6 years and she’s still alive and well!!!) I too was one of those people who was like “what happened to Patty?” after Hole broke up and especially after she publicly came out to Rolling Stone just before. I loved her memories of Kurt and it’s no coincidence that I read this book during the week of the anniversary of his death 27 years ago. I am so glad Patty decided to write a memoir and I’m astonished that she actually lived to write about it. (She used heroin for 14 years and smoked crack for 6 years and she’s still alive and well!!!) I too was one of those people who was like “what happened to Patty?” after Hole broke up and especially after she publicly came out to Rolling Stone just before. I loved her memories of Kurt and it’s no coincidence that I read this book during the week of the anniversary of his death 27 years ago. 🖤

  24. 4 out of 5

    Wendi Manning

    I knew the story going in. I wasn’t expecting any major surprises and the only surprises I got were from her incredible determination to be an addict. She actually used Layne Staley as a reference point. Seriously? If you aspire to reach Layne levels of drug use, maybe the problem isn’t the drugs. Before anyone jumps on me for that, I’m saying right now, I had a drug problem myself, so I’m not speaking from innocence. She comes off as the least likable member of Hole, that’s an incredible feat. I knew the story going in. I wasn’t expecting any major surprises and the only surprises I got were from her incredible determination to be an addict. She actually used Layne Staley as a reference point. Seriously? If you aspire to reach Layne levels of drug use, maybe the problem isn’t the drugs. Before anyone jumps on me for that, I’m saying right now, I had a drug problem myself, so I’m not speaking from innocence. She comes off as the least likable member of Hole, that’s an incredible feat. She also comes off as absolutely vacant and cold, even when talking about her daughter. But when she’s talking about drugs, even now, that’s brutally, but lovingly written. This one will bug you, read at your own risk.

  25. 4 out of 5

    berthamason

    4.5 stars.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mentai

    Review to come.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark Farley

    Honest, candid and frank, HIT SO HARD is former Hole drummer Patty Schemel's written account following from the excellent documentary of the same name. Watching said documentary, I sometimes felt she held back being quite so open as she is in this book and it shows in it's reading. Which is refreshing, but it's so much easier in this medium to talk about embarrassing and shameful situations you unfortunately found yourself in, when at the mercy of the level of substance abuse Patty went through Honest, candid and frank, HIT SO HARD is former Hole drummer Patty Schemel's written account following from the excellent documentary of the same name. Watching said documentary, I sometimes felt she held back being quite so open as she is in this book and it shows in it's reading. Which is refreshing, but it's so much easier in this medium to talk about embarrassing and shameful situations you unfortunately found yourself in, when at the mercy of the level of substance abuse Patty went through in her life. Easier at least compared to having a camera pointed in your face. Her closeness and proximity to Kurt and Courtney during a significant period in that will forever remain in music folklore and mythology is an obvious draw to me as being a massive fan of so much of that particular scene is more than evident to me. And my enjoyment in reading this account of said time probably makes me a little biased, but I really did love this book. It not only captivated and shocked me, I learned so much about so many different things that have a special place in my heart, like certain songs, albums, bands etc. But more than anything else, the sheer bravery on display on opening up about such a surprising and difficult life is astonishing. I had no idea of the battles and difficulties that she was going through, while I was busy just being a selfish and a devoted fan. When Patty was replaced in Hole with Samantha Maloney, I honestly just shrugged it off and just carried on as normal. Maybe a big part of was my punch drunk devotion of Courtney or just sheer ambivalence, but I did come out of this reading experience feeling a tad guilty. But hey, what the hell could I have done about it, at the end of the day? Her story is tragic and really harrowing and again... so surprising but thankfully rewarding and one of redemption. For pure fan service, this is an excellent read. It is no embellishment to say how "in that sacred circle" Patty was to Kurt and Courtney throughout their lives together and how pivotal she was to the sound of one of the most underrated bands of that era. It's such a relief and so great to hear that Patty has finally come through the other side and has joined the LA rehab mafioso and is now leading a life of love, happiness and recovery. And for all the memories, thank you.

  28. 5 out of 5

    A Cesspool

    One thing I did ascertain is that Kurt Cobain absolutely provided the lyrics for Hole's initial output/first album. What's illustrated again and again is how much Courtney Love excels at Rock music History & Criticism and fails exceedingly at authorship; from ...pirating Nirvana's [then-unreleased] “Pennyroyal Tea", and "You Know You're Right" [a move the rest of the band disavowed] ...to "struggling with lyrics 'melodies' in studio; expecting (bf) Billy Corgan to provide more musically..." ...and One thing I did ascertain is that Kurt Cobain absolutely provided the lyrics for Hole's initial output/first album. What's illustrated again and again is how much Courtney Love excels at Rock music History & Criticism and fails exceedingly at authorship; from ...pirating Nirvana's [then-unreleased] “Pennyroyal Tea", and "You Know You're Right" [a move the rest of the band disavowed] ...to "struggling with lyrics 'melodies' in studio; expecting (bf) Billy Corgan to provide more musically..." ...and Insisting on ownership of Christina Aguilera's [still unreleased, new] song 'Beautiful' for herself [an artistic compulsion so bizarre, Patty juxtapose it to smoking crack cocaine]. Nevertheless, you can for sure see the litigious hand of Love's revisionist editors watering-down or outright redacting throughout. Which likely had a hand in my ultimate gripe with this memoir long road to recovery yarn... Patty the musician barely, glibly, comes through, i.e. the Cautionary Tale(s) overwhelm. I can appreciate 'the addiction is who she was then' but this memoir has little to do with her successes, milestones, trivialities as a late-90's musician. This is literally another recovering addict's triumph-over-adversity narrative, albeit, by exploiting popularity. Which is totally fine [I would have have preferred Both, and not just one or the other] but don't market your book as something entirely different. The corresponding 2011 documentary does this precisely -- that doc feature better relays the story of Hole's first/former drummer, Patty (while struggling with addiction). Really could have used a lot less Patty-the-"Tech" or 12-Step Sponsor editing, and more Patty-the-talented-musician. see: towards the end, discussing motherhood... THAT is exactly the tone, and P.O.V., lacking throughout. I come away from this learning Patty loves her sexuality, her dope, and her kid; meanwhile the book's still titled Hit So Hard. That's definitely good marketing, since you totally fooled me!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a must-read if you are a fan of Hole, Nirvana, or the Seattle sound of the 90's. Book includes photos I hadn't seen before. The memories she shares track with other books and magazine articles I've read over the years. Her writing is solid. I was worried that the writing would be either incoherent or fake. She seems like she's pretty smart. He voice feels genuine and that was important to me. She has a feminist/pro-LGBTQ vibe. Most of the book revolves around her substance abuse issues. This is a must-read if you are a fan of Hole, Nirvana, or the Seattle sound of the 90's. Book includes photos I hadn't seen before. The memories she shares track with other books and magazine articles I've read over the years. Her writing is solid. I was worried that the writing would be either incoherent or fake. She seems like she's pretty smart. He voice feels genuine and that was important to me. She has a feminist/pro-LGBTQ vibe. Most of the book revolves around her substance abuse issues. Her rock bottom was shockingly extreme. It made me realize how much more chaotic their lives were at the height of their fame. I found her thoughts about her recovery journey interesting. Compassion, everlasting hope, unlimited "second" chances, providing a range of treatment options, and getting an addict into treatment quickly WHENEVER they are willing to request it or even tolerate it appears to be key to the finding the road to recovery. Oddly, I felt her story could have had more about drumming and music. I mean, she definitely discusses her career and references musicians, albums, and songs but how she got into it and how it made her feel seemed kind of glossed over. I don't know anything about drumming and I feel like I learned only a handful of things. Maybe she thought it might turn readers off if she was too technical?? She was able to articulate her addiction clearly in an accessible fashion but I didn't get that same clarity when it came to her drumming--even though she's obviously skilled and passionate. Very minor complaint about a memoir that is well worth reading. Now, I will return to mourning over the stunning lack of attention and appreciation that Hole's "Live Through This" album gets. I should hear these songs on my radio station every day instead of almost never. :(

  30. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    I originally read this book because I love Hole, the band that writer Patty Schemel played in during the 90s, and am always trying to read more about the band and anything involving Courtney Love. As an avid fan, I eagerly seek out anything I can get my hands on involving the 90s grunge scene. I initially started this book excited to read about Hole, but I quickly realized that the memoir is mostly about Patty Schemel's drug addiction. It was a wonderful read. Schemel discusses her childhood bri I originally read this book because I love Hole, the band that writer Patty Schemel played in during the 90s, and am always trying to read more about the band and anything involving Courtney Love. As an avid fan, I eagerly seek out anything I can get my hands on involving the 90s grunge scene. I initially started this book excited to read about Hole, but I quickly realized that the memoir is mostly about Patty Schemel's drug addiction. It was a wonderful read. Schemel discusses her childhood briefly - she mentions growing up in Washington state and getting involved in music. But her story really picks up when she joins Hole and starts to indulge her growing drug addiction. She is upfront and honest about her addiction, while also reflective. She details her journey from drummer in small punk bands, to a drummer in a critically acclaimed rock band, to being fired and basically living on the streets. Some of the stories she tells are terrifying and I found myself surprised, multiple times throughout the book, that she had survived through her misadventures. She spares no details and portrays a gritty, realistic, and harsh portrait of being a drug addict. Schemel's story is a tale of serious addiction combined with healing and eventually, hope. I flew through this book in two days and didn't want it to end. I highly recommend this wonderfully written and deeply moving story.

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