Mary Climbs In is a new study that illuminates a once overlooked but increasingly important and multi-faceted conversation about the female audience for the music of Bruce Springsteen.
Springsteen has been cherished by his fans for decades, from his early days playing high school gymnasiums through globally successful albums and huge stadium shows to solo performances in intimate theaters. As his long and illustrious career has evolved, the legendary devotion of his fans has remained a constant. Springsteen fans have become worthy of study in their own right, with books, memoirs, and even a movie documenting their passion and perspectives. But his fans are not monolithic, and surprisingly little attention has been paid to why so many women from across the world adore The Boss.
Drawing on unique surveys of fans themselves, the study offers insight into women’s experiences in their own voices. The authors, Lorraine Mangione and Donna Luff, explore the depth of women fans’ connection to Springsteen and the profound ways this connection has shaped their lives. Reflections from fans enliven each page as readers journey through the camaraderie and joy of concerts, the sorrow and confusion of personal loss and suffering, the love and closeness of community, and the search for meaning and for the self. Viewed through a psychological lens, women fans’ relationship with Springsteen is revealed in all its complexity as never before.
Mary Climbs In is an important interdisciplinary contribution to the growing field of Springsteen studies and a must-read for any fan.
Lorraine Mangione, professor of clinical psychology at Antioch University New England, focuses on women in many aspects of who they are; creativity and artistry; group therapy; spirituality and religion; aging, loss, and grief; Italian American culture; mentoring; and #MeToo in her clinical and research work and publications. She is the coauthor of Daughters, Dads, and the Path through Grief: Tales from Italian America, as well as articles integrating Springsteen and psychology.
Donna Luff is a British-born writer and sociologist, an educator at Boston Children’s Hospital, and faculty at Harvard Medical School. She has published on gender, sexuality, and health care innovations and taught widely on qualitative research practice. She is author of several personal essays, as well as articles on Springsteen, and coauthor of a prior chapter on Springsteen’s women fans.
Rutgers University Press, 252pp, 15.2cm x 22.9cm, paperback 2023
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