Twist: An American Girl

Iconic punk musician Adele Bertei’s memoir Twist is her harrowing and electric story of transforming trauma through art, pluck, and imagination, as told through the voice of her alter ego, Maddie Twist.

Adele Bertei’s memoir Twist threads together the tapestry of her troubled childhood in the 60s and 70s, through the eyes of her alter ego Maddie Twist. Her beautiful mother suffers delusions of grandeur brought on by schizophrenia, bringing wonders and horrors to the Bertei home. Soon, Bertei and her two younger brothers become wards of the state of Ohio and by the time she is of middle school age, Maddie Twist has moved through—or run away from—two Cleveland foster homes and a detention home for teenagers. At the Marycrest School for Wayward Girls, she finally finds some stability, but after she is caught kissing another girl, she’s on the run again, this time landing herself in a maximum security reformatory school for girls, all before her fifteenth birthday. With each new posting, Maddie discovers sanctuary and solidarity amongst her peers—the outcasts, while adapting to fit her surroundings, and steadily gaining trust in her own voice. As Maddie Twist ages out of the system and finds herself with a surprising new community, her only constant is a ribbon of music that weaves itself around her heart, as a beacon towards another life. She can sing, and she is certain that will be the thing to save her.

In frank prose without an ounce of self-pity, Twist is an episodic survival of the fittest, navigating the crooked rivers of poverty, race, sexuality, and gender. It is a world of little girl gangsters, drag queen solidarity, wild roller-skating, and magical thinking. As the creator of the band the Bloods, the first out, queer, all-women-rock band, Bertei has made a career as a singer, songwriter, writer, and director. With Twist, she gives us a story of violence and madness, of heartbreak and perseverance, and, ultimately, redemption. [publishers’ note]


Published by ZE Books, 2023
Literature / Music & Sound

Price: 30€

BERTEI, Adele - Twist: An American Girl