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Longlisted for the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence This blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was. Janis Joplin’s first transgressive act was to be a white girl who gained an early sense of the power of the blues, music you could only fi Longlisted for the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence This blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was. Janis Joplin’s first transgressive act was to be a white girl who gained an early sense of the power of the blues, music you could only find on obscure records and in roadhouses along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast. But even before that, she stood out in her conservative oil town. She was a tomboy who was also intellectually curious and artistic. By the time she reached high school, she had drawn the scorn of her peers for her embrace of the Beats and her racially progressive views. Her parents doted on her in many ways, but were ultimately put off by her repeated acts of defiance. Janis Joplin has passed into legend as a brash, impassioned soul doomed by the pain that produced one of the most extraordinary voices in rock history. But in these pages, Holly George-Warren provides a revelatory and deeply satisfying portrait of a woman who wasn’t all about suffering. Janis was a perfectionist: a passionate, erudite musician who was born with talent but also worked exceptionally hard to develop it. She was a woman who pushed the boundaries of gender and sexuality long before it was socially acceptable. She was a sensitive seeker who wanted to marry and settle down—but couldn’t, or wouldn’t. She was a Texan who yearned to flee Texas but could never quite get away—even after becoming a countercultural icon in San Francisco. Written by one of the most highly regarded chroniclers of American music history, and based on unprecedented access to Janis Joplin’s family, friends, band mates, archives, and long-lost interviews, Janis is a complex, rewarding portrait of a remarkable artist finally getting her due.


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Longlisted for the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence This blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was. Janis Joplin’s first transgressive act was to be a white girl who gained an early sense of the power of the blues, music you could only fi Longlisted for the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence This blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was. Janis Joplin’s first transgressive act was to be a white girl who gained an early sense of the power of the blues, music you could only find on obscure records and in roadhouses along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast. But even before that, she stood out in her conservative oil town. She was a tomboy who was also intellectually curious and artistic. By the time she reached high school, she had drawn the scorn of her peers for her embrace of the Beats and her racially progressive views. Her parents doted on her in many ways, but were ultimately put off by her repeated acts of defiance. Janis Joplin has passed into legend as a brash, impassioned soul doomed by the pain that produced one of the most extraordinary voices in rock history. But in these pages, Holly George-Warren provides a revelatory and deeply satisfying portrait of a woman who wasn’t all about suffering. Janis was a perfectionist: a passionate, erudite musician who was born with talent but also worked exceptionally hard to develop it. She was a woman who pushed the boundaries of gender and sexuality long before it was socially acceptable. She was a sensitive seeker who wanted to marry and settle down—but couldn’t, or wouldn’t. She was a Texan who yearned to flee Texas but could never quite get away—even after becoming a countercultural icon in San Francisco. Written by one of the most highly regarded chroniclers of American music history, and based on unprecedented access to Janis Joplin’s family, friends, band mates, archives, and long-lost interviews, Janis is a complex, rewarding portrait of a remarkable artist finally getting her due.

30 review for Janis: Her Life and Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    A stunning portrait of the troubled, restless soul behind the big, brash, larger than life persona that was Janis Joplin- Holly George-Warren is a seasoned music biographer, but this is the first book I’ve read of hers. Even with all her experience, the author chose to write about a person who was incredibly complex, conflicted, driven, unconventional and tormented. I would think that writing a biography over Janis would be a daunting task and more than a little intimidating. However, the author A stunning portrait of the troubled, restless soul behind the big, brash, larger than life persona that was Janis Joplin- Holly George-Warren is a seasoned music biographer, but this is the first book I’ve read of hers. Even with all her experience, the author chose to write about a person who was incredibly complex, conflicted, driven, unconventional and tormented. I would think that writing a biography over Janis would be a daunting task and more than a little intimidating. However, the author seemed meant for this task, and has managed to do what few biographers are able to achieve- capturing Janis’s spirit and essence, giving the reader an intimate look at the person behind the persona, stripping away the veneer that she notoriously hid behind, to get a raw, harrowing look at the real Janis Joplin. By now you know that when I read a biography, I demand organization, and prefer a chronological format. We can go ahead and check those boxes and move on. The research is impeccable, and the cooperation the author received by those who were closest to Janis, included her surviving family, made the book feel very personal and authentic. I have read one other book about Janis, way back in the late seventies or early eighties, which was shocking to me back then. I have not read any other biographies, although I have learned there are at least two that are reputable, one of which was written by Laura Joplin, Janis’s sister. Remembering the naked pain I felt at times when hearing Janis sing, then learning that she did indeed experience some pretty rough times, and knowing she suffered from some kind of powerful, insatiable need for something she couldn’t quite get a grip on, I passed on reading other books about Janis, because I just didn’t know if I was up to the emotional drain her life story might have on me. Yet, I found myself jumping at the chance to read and review this book and although Janis’ life is one defined by an inability to settle, a healthy self-destructive streak, and loads of angst and tragedy, I felt a real connection to time and place, and truly feel I have a much better understanding of Janis. Listening to Summertime and hearing that haunting, raspy voice again, still sends a shiver down my spine. Janis’s live performances were so raw, she seemed to absorb the music, and through that expression, released an inner pain that was palpable. She was electrifying, and man, oh man, could she sing the blues! One can’t argue with her incredible soul and the power she exhibited. She was so cool- a woman who was the star of the show, with an all male band. She was a trailblazer, savvy, and hardworking, and had a huge impact on music, influencing many rock stars, both male and female for many years to come. But, turn off the stage persona and an entirely different side of Janis emerges, and despite her larger than life presence on the stage, this is the part of Janis that sticks with me. The private anguish, the conflicting parts of herself, the sacrifices she made for non-conformity, and the price she ultimately paid for the career she labored for, and her unconventionality. She died without the love and stability of a long-term healthy romantic relationship, without a family of her own, and without the full approval or acceptance from her parents, which she desperately craved. She died alone in a hotel room in October of 1970, from an accidental heroin overdose. Biographies are often hit or miss, but folks, this is one of the good ones. The author worked on this book for four years and her respectfulness to Janis, her family, her friends, her music and her legacy is apparent. This book is sobering, and thought - provoking, and of course very sad. I just wish Janis knew how much she was loved, and what an incredible legacy she left behind, and I hope that she is now enveloped by the peace and love she found so elusive in life…

  2. 4 out of 5

    *TUDOR^QUEEN*

    I am not a Janis Joplin fan by any means, but am a rock biography fan. I was constantly drawn to the riveting photo of Janis Joplin on this book's cover, and finally caved in to request an arc of this biography. Sometimes I enjoy reading a biography of a person I know next to nothing about, as is the case here. This is a 400-page extensive biography tracking Janis Joplin's youth through her death in 1970 at the age of 27. She grew up in Port Arthur, Texas to parents Dorothy and Seth Joplin and w I am not a Janis Joplin fan by any means, but am a rock biography fan. I was constantly drawn to the riveting photo of Janis Joplin on this book's cover, and finally caved in to request an arc of this biography. Sometimes I enjoy reading a biography of a person I know next to nothing about, as is the case here. This is a 400-page extensive biography tracking Janis Joplin's youth through her death in 1970 at the age of 27. She grew up in Port Arthur, Texas to parents Dorothy and Seth Joplin and with younger siblings Michael and Laura. She was sensitive, a deep thinker, avid reader, painter, and rebel/wild child. She connected with her father on an intellectual level having serious philosophical conversations with him. However, their relationship was inconsistent and sometimes they drifted apart. She displayed an early uninhibited nature by playing sports topless as a pre-teen in the street with her young male friends. She was always a square peg and was often teased and picked on in school. As a teenager in high school she was incessantly marked as being loose with the guys, even though she was actually a virgin. After so long being falsely accused of this, she eventually threw up her hands and adopted promiscuous ways. Janis did go to a psychiatrist and psychologist while living in Port Arthur. She latched onto alcohol early on. Her parents couldn't keep her tethered to a cookie cutter normal lifestyle as they would wish. Janis would try attending various colleges on multiple occasions, but then drop out. In desperation, her mother came up with the idea of Janis attending a business school to learn accounting and typing with the goal of becoming a keypunch operator. Janis actually excelled with this and was sent to live with her mother's sister in Los Angeles where she found a job. However, Janis was lured by the easy atmosphere at Venice Beach, and later, San Francisco. Not only was she artistic in the way of being an amateur painter, but possessed other creative gifts such as her love of reading (which lent to her practice of letter writing) and the orgasmic release she felt from singing. Janis idolized soul singers such as Bessie Smith, "Big Mama" Thornton and Otis Redding, and began dabbling in performances at various locales. Janis was very bold and courageous, taking risks to try to realize her dream of becoming famous. Everywhere she performed the audience would be blown away by the force of her performance. By all accounts, she left every bit of herself out there with each performance. One concert goer stated that she held back clapping after a couple of encores because she just didn't know how much more one person could be expected to give. Once she met up with the band known as "Big Brother and the Holding Company", they enthusiastically welcomed her into the fold. She considered herself part of this band, but everyone else focused particularly on her. Eventually, as the band catapulted to fame, journalists would only wish to interview Janis rather than the other members of the band. Janis jumped into bed with fellow band members and enjoyed an endless array of other spontaneous intimate trysts- many with other music or entertainment celebrities. Unfortunately, one of her guitarists introduced her to heroin, which she became addicted to; it numbed her emotional pain. At one point before fame hit she dreamt of getting married with all the accoutrements like the white picket fence. As she was content for awhile biding time in her Port Arthur, Texas home with her parents and siblings, she focused on acquiring items for her marital home, while she waited in vain for a marriage that never came. She was betrayed by a man who lied about his financial, medical and romantic status, as he would continually produce excuses for stalling the marriage as he communicated from many miles away in New York. The Big Brother and the Holding Company backing band was deemed sloppy and insufficient to Janis's lofty singing standards, but she considered them family and stalled divorcing herself from them. However, eventually the writing was on the wall and record executives demanded the change in order for Janis to achieve ultimate success. I was muddling through this book until about a third of the way and actually considered abandoning it, but am very glad that I stuck with it. I became mesmerized by her fearless attack on life, where "anything goes" was the rule of the day. Janis even had several female intimate relationships, along with the plethora of heterosexual ones. Her heroin problem caused some people to leave her, but sometimes they would come back when Janis promised she was clean. She would have periods of abstinence from it, but there was always the alcohol. It was ultimately a hit of china white heroin (three times as strong as what she would usually use) that did her in, when no one was around to save her. This was a fascinating account of a supernova so intense that it couldn't help but burn out too soon. My favorite personal touch in the book was excerpts of her many letters written to her family. Her sister Laura Joplin provided access to these and many other artifacts such as Janis's performance clothing. Laura Joplin actually has her own book comprised of these letters called Love, Janis which I hope to one day read. However, this is a quality biography which I truly enjoyed. Even though I'm not a fan of her music, I still intend to check out some of her performances described in this book, since it clearly impressed so many others. Thank you to the publisher Simon and Schuster who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nat K

    ”When I sing, I feel like, oh, when you’re first in love.” - Janis Joplin I love a good music bio. Reading about the creative process. The muse that drives it. The lifestyle which is unlike what most could ever imagine. The all encompassing adoration of the crowd. The heat of them. The comedown after a concert. The loneliness of life off the stage. In a nutshell, I live vicariously through these types of books. I've read a few bios about Janis previously, and enjoyed them very much. I was both curi ”When I sing, I feel like, oh, when you’re first in love.” - Janis Joplin I love a good music bio. Reading about the creative process. The muse that drives it. The lifestyle which is unlike what most could ever imagine. The all encompassing adoration of the crowd. The heat of them. The comedown after a concert. The loneliness of life off the stage. In a nutshell, I live vicariously through these types of books. I've read a few bios about Janis previously, and enjoyed them very much. I was both curious and surprised to find that a new one had hit the shelves last year. What stood out for me (and what I don’t recall having heard before), is that Janis had a "revelation" as a teen when she read Jack Kerouac's "On The Road". It was an inspiration for her and she felt that Jack was a literary kindred spirit. She aspired to the lifestyle that he described in this book, and she longed to shake off the shackles of her life in Port Arthur, Texas. It amazed me to think that she read it when it was published in 1957. How is that for awesomeness? This book set the seed in her mind that there was a big world out there, and she wanted to explore it. To live it. Just like Jack & the Beat Writers did. It was also interesting to find out that Janis was a voracious reader. She’d always have a paperback or two in her bag, alongside her ever faithful bottle of Southern Comfort. Other than that, I can't say this book offered me any new insights to her story. And it didn't give me a sense of Janis as a person. Other books I’ve read brought her life and the vibe of the 60s alive to me. Like I could smell the patchouli in the air. This one didn't. There's too much micro detail about song setlists that she sang in coffee houses. Her phrasing technique when singing. Technical details that made my eyes glaze over. I didn’t feel the angst of her personality, her need to belong, how hard it was for her to fit in and her want to find herself an "old man" and settle down. It mentioned these themes many times, but I just didn't feel it. I know I keep saying “feel”, but for me reading is more of an emotional rather than academic experience. This read as being more encyclopedic rather than personal (which is what a bio should be). I'd say this book is perhaps best for someone discovering Janis for the first time. Or maybe a die-hard stalwart who'll read everything they can about Pearl. Despite the brash, sometimes gruff exterior, Janis was an emotional woman. A bit of a marshmallow. Again, though this is mentioned throughout the book, particularly how difficult her school & college years were due to people’s perceptions of her, I still only got a very superficial sense of Janis as a person. These are the things that led her to brawling, drinking, taking drugs. To give her confidence. To bring her contentment. But it was like this book was written about a fictional character, rather than a real, live woman, who hurt and brought so much depth and emotion through her music and with that amazing voice. She was adored by many. Everybody loves a winner, and wants some of that magic to rub off on them. But all the adoration in the world doesn’t make up for not having someone special to share the good (and not so good) times. What Janis yearned for was to find herself an "old man" to settle down with. To be her partner in life. Despite a revolving door of lovers of both sexes, relationships and Janis were not the easiest mix. ”Ontstage I make love to twenty-five thousand people, then I go home alone.” As with most that have so much talent, Janis had more than her share of demons. Which ultimately ended up leading to her sad demise. Her lonely death in a motel room was given over to a perfunctory paragraph. Almost like we were in a rush to the finish line to complete the book. "Choosing alcohol and drugs as painkillers just made everything worse." Days before her untimely death in 1970, Janis told a journalist "You are only as much as you settle for.". She was strong and unapologetic. Plenty of modern day starlets could learn a thing or two from her. It blows my mind to think her voice and music is as vibrant and valid now - fifty years after recording - as they were then. In fact, this book got me listening to her music again. It always reminds me of a holiday where her music and The Doors were on constant rotation. So dig out your old scratchy LPs, have your favourite tipple ready and sing along LOUD with Janis. Don't worry what the neighbours think (they might even join you). And you really need to check out her performance at the Monterey Pop Festival of ’67. Electric. The look on Mama Cass’s face watching her perform is priceless. What this book really brought home for me is the ferocious talent Janis was, what a trailblazer. A feminist even...after all, rock'n'roll is still completely male dominated to this day, from the performers through to the music industry execs. But Janis was determined. She sailed her own ship and was fearless. Most of all, Janis showed you can't help be anyone but yourself. She proved that beautifully, if tragically. Thanks aren't enough, but thanks for the music Janis. No-one can take that away. Well researched, but not enough passion 3☆

  4. 4 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    Welcome to the late 1960s, the time of Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Jim Morrison and others. As a nervous Janis Joplin is trying to make a go of it with the band called Big Brother and the Holding Company. They start playing gigs all over and learning to mesh together and get better as they do. Janis really starts to come into her own with her singing and stage presence and the audiences go wild for her. Word spreads and she begins to get some good reviews. They finally g Welcome to the late 1960s, the time of Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Jim Morrison and others. As a nervous Janis Joplin is trying to make a go of it with the band called Big Brother and the Holding Company. They start playing gigs all over and learning to mesh together and get better as they do. Janis really starts to come into her own with her singing and stage presence and the audiences go wild for her. Word spreads and she begins to get some good reviews. They finally get a great manager who will get them going places; and find a way to get their old contract squashed that’s been holding them back. Follow her career as she finally finds the fame she’s wanted. If only she could have the rest of what she dreams of, her own home and family. This is an excellent book about Janis Joplin and that era of music. I love the cover picture. It’s well researched and well written and if you have an interest in Joplin or the music of that era you shouldn’t miss it, for sure. I found it very enjoyable to learn so much about this wonderful, yet troubled artist who passed so young as several did. Now Longlisted for the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Holly George-Warren, and the publisher. First published on my WordPress blog: https://wordpress.com/post/bookblog20...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This was a very detailed, informative, and well researched book on the life of Janis that encompasses her short life and career. This award winning author was given access to the Joplin family and letters, diaries, interviews with the singers friends and band mates. It was so sad how lonely and emotionally tortured Janis was growing up, and she actually fell into singing by accident. She LOVED Otis Redding and Bessie Smith. The tragic thing was that as she became famous.. what she always really wa This was a very detailed, informative, and well researched book on the life of Janis that encompasses her short life and career. This award winning author was given access to the Joplin family and letters, diaries, interviews with the singers friends and band mates. It was so sad how lonely and emotionally tortured Janis was growing up, and she actually fell into singing by accident. She LOVED Otis Redding and Bessie Smith. The tragic thing was that as she became famous.. what she always really wanted was the ideal family life including the white picket fence. Sad that it never happened for her. Love the cover! Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for the ARC

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette (Again)

    Janis Joplin died from a heroin overdose at the tender age of twenty-seven. That's the single fact that people of a certain age know about her life. It's the unfortunate asterisk that accompanies the posthumous reputation of a talented, passionate woman who was so much more than the tragic way in which she left us. I went through my own sheltered-lass-set-loose-upon-an-unsuspecting-world phase in my late teens and early twenties. I consumed colossal amounts of alcohol in various forms, but I was Janis Joplin died from a heroin overdose at the tender age of twenty-seven. That's the single fact that people of a certain age know about her life. It's the unfortunate asterisk that accompanies the posthumous reputation of a talented, passionate woman who was so much more than the tragic way in which she left us. I went through my own sheltered-lass-set-loose-upon-an-unsuspecting-world phase in my late teens and early twenties. I consumed colossal amounts of alcohol in various forms, but I was always wary of drugs. I didn't have much concrete knowledge about the dangers of drug use. It was more an instinctual caution. Peer pressure made no difference. I flaunted my wimpiness. "Y'all go ahead and snort those lines. Let me get you some tissues for that nosebleed." Janis had no such reservations. If you could smoke it, drink it, swallow it, inject it, or have sex with it, Janis was all in. Rooms full of people stoned out of their minds, sweaty unwashed bodies and humpity-doo-dah -- this was her chosen milieu. She had a penchant for Southern Comfort, so much so that the purveyors of that libation sent her a fur coat in gratitude for the inadvertent advertising she provided. It wasn't success or fame or money that drove her to this lifestyle. She began engaging in risky behaviors in her early teenage years, long before she was even aware of her musical gifts. She seems to have been born with some self-destructive tendencies which were exacerbated by what she called "the kozmic blues," her name for depression. If you've read other books about Janis, you may already know much of what's in this one. This is the only book I've read about her, and it seems quite comprehensive. A tad too comprehensive for me, hence the rating. Every set list at every jam session, recording session, and concert. Every musical influence, most I'd never heard of. Every argument among band members. Seemingly every person she ever met or had sex with -- male and female. Someone cue up The Police, please, I have a new verse: "Every cake you bake, every smoke you toke, every tune you croon, I'll be publishing." I love Janis's music, but I'm not a cultish devotee, so it was at times too encyclopedic for me. I have great respect for prodigious research, and I'm sure it's difficult to put together a book like this that's going to appeal to various interest levels. About halfway through the book I realized I would never finish it unless I gave myself permission to scan or skip-read certain portions of it. Here's what I want you to know about Janis: In the late 1950s, she was a high school student in conservative Port Arthur, Texas. She was the only person in her entire school who stood up publicly and argued in favor of integration so black students could have the same opportunities as white students. For her courage, they made her a pariah and called her "n"-lover. But she never changed her stance. Despite everything that came after, I'd like to remember her as that principled girl with a bold, compassionate spirit and a natural sense of justice.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    Janis: Her Life and Music She takes my breath away. It is astonishing that she was the same age as my mother, and yet seems closer in age to me. Although I’ve spent many hours with guitars, bandmates and singing on my own, listening to favorite groups and collecting favorites like the rest of the world, my Janis Joplin blindspot has been significant. Prior to reading this book, I knew her name, knew she was loud and a trouble magnet. I always thought she was entrancing in a witchy way, full of po Janis: Her Life and Music She takes my breath away. It is astonishing that she was the same age as my mother, and yet seems closer in age to me. Although I’ve spent many hours with guitars, bandmates and singing on my own, listening to favorite groups and collecting favorites like the rest of the world, my Janis Joplin blindspot has been significant. Prior to reading this book, I knew her name, knew she was loud and a trouble magnet. I always thought she was entrancing in a witchy way, full of power and potential, and defined herself with an undefined style that I would later adopt, as many of us did (her style outlived her by generations!). She had a following that was a little older than me, and my parents FORBID her music from my record collecting and JJ stories from my hero gathering. That should have clued me in, but it didn’t. I was guided to gentler themes and artists who were properly danceable: Carpenters, Ms. King, and Helen Reddy. Starting with her baby steps in Texas, and covering just about every waking moment to that last terrible, tragic end, this book does a compelling job of setting Janis in the context of her time, personal struggles, and familial relationships. There were clear lines drawn regarding her motivating experiences, creating the engine that would click in later in life when it came to choices made and choices not made. I appreciated the author’s explanations of who was who, and who was who when, since in that milieu there were many who changed roles often and repeatedly. In the paths Janis traveled you could, in real life, see consequences played out to the very end. . . .and my heart ached for her. She wanted, and wanted, and her thirst was never quite quenched. Her life seemed to have fallen straight out of a Greek myth (Sisyphus / Tantalus ?which?) . . .that even if she had lived longer, it wasn’t going to satisfy – no drink of water, no apple from the tree; or was she just going to roll that stone up the hill forever? I was sad to close the book – and wanted more. That can’t be laid at the author’s feet, though. In the space of starting this read to reaching its end you find yourself actually missing her: that wild, uncontainable woman who was Janis Joplin. A sincere thanks to Holly George-Warren, Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for this ARC to read and review!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Linden

    This biography chronicles the train-wreck life of Janis Joplin. She was different from her 1950’s peers in conservative Port Arthur, Texas, dressing like a beatnik when the other girls wore bobby socks and poodle skirts, getting a reputation that horrified her mother. She was by all accounts a wild child, challenging her parents but craving their love; they were unhappy when she claimed that they threw her out of the house, which apparently wasn’t true. The book brings a sense of immediacy to he This biography chronicles the train-wreck life of Janis Joplin. She was different from her 1950’s peers in conservative Port Arthur, Texas, dressing like a beatnik when the other girls wore bobby socks and poodle skirts, getting a reputation that horrified her mother. She was by all accounts a wild child, challenging her parents but craving their love; they were unhappy when she claimed that they threw her out of the house, which apparently wasn’t true. The book brings a sense of immediacy to her time in San Francisco, with all of the drugs sex, and rock’n’roll of the late sixties. (It’s a wonder anyone who was living that life there survived at all). Betrayals, money chicanery, and egocentric narcissists were more prevalent than love and peace in Janis’s world. She drank too much, smoked too much, and turned to heroin to dull her pain. Her statement, “Man, I’d rather have ten years of superhyper- most living than live to be 70 by sitting in some goddamn chair watching TV” wound up being sadly prophetic.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Going into this memoir, I knew that Janis had had an unhappy life for the most part. I didn't realize until reading this biography, just how heartbreaking it had been. This is not a fun filled romp through fame and success. It's more a glimpse of how, even with a successful career, a person can be lonely and depressed. I want to throttle Janis's two "best" girlfriends from high school. With friends like that, who needs enemies? Before she gave up trying to in, Janis hung out with these 2 girls wh Going into this memoir, I knew that Janis had had an unhappy life for the most part. I didn't realize until reading this biography, just how heartbreaking it had been. This is not a fun filled romp through fame and success. It's more a glimpse of how, even with a successful career, a person can be lonely and depressed. I want to throttle Janis's two "best" girlfriends from high school. With friends like that, who needs enemies? Before she gave up trying to in, Janis hung out with these 2 girls who would gang up on her and do "jokes" like driving out to the countryside, getting Janis out of the car under some pretext, and then driving off, leaving her to walk back to town in the dark. Hardy-har-har, what a laugh riot. They would purposefully get Janis in trouble with teachers and parents. Their notes in Janis's yearbooks are like a study in passive aggressiveness. The guys at school weren't any better. When they weren't calling her the ugliest girl in school, they would call her , whore, or n***er lover, because she wasn't a racist like they were. Years after Janis's death, her former classmate, that tool Jimmy Johnson of The Cowboys, repeated a rumor about her in an interview he did. She never wore panties. Really? Talk about letting your inner high school bully shine out. The irony is that Janis graduated from school a virgin yet she was harassed for years about her sexuality. Even when she escaped South Texas, Janis still attracted jerks. While attending UT in Austin, Janis was nominated in a yearly contest the frats did, a search for the campus's ugliest man. They put up posters all around school, with her photo & the words "Vote for the ugliest man". Just one more reason to hate the Greek system. She had a few semi-happy years in the San Francisco music scene but the adulation she received for her brilliant voice and riveting stage persona were never enough to fill the void inside her. It was frustrating to read about how she kept self-sabotaging herself with heavy drinking & drugs but I understood. It was a way to numb the pain that never went away. Maybe if she'd been raised in a more accepting, nurturing environment, Janis's prodigious talent, keen intellect and drive/perseverance to create music would have flourished even more than it did. It's amazing she was able to blossom as she did, under such a trying life. Popsugar Challenge 2020/A book by an author with flora in their name

  10. 4 out of 5

    Juli

    I have always loved Janis Joplin's voice. Her earthy vocals and the way she clearly put her soul into her performances makes her music so enjoyable for me. I knew she had a rough time growing up in Texas. I knew she was a bit of a rebel who lived life by her own set of rules. And I knew how she died. But I really didn't know much about her life, her friends and family, and her personality until I read this book. I'm so glad I read this book! It gives intimate details about Janis' childhood and t I have always loved Janis Joplin's voice. Her earthy vocals and the way she clearly put her soul into her performances makes her music so enjoyable for me. I knew she had a rough time growing up in Texas. I knew she was a bit of a rebel who lived life by her own set of rules. And I knew how she died. But I really didn't know much about her life, her friends and family, and her personality until I read this book. I'm so glad I read this book! It gives intimate details about Janis' childhood and teenage years in Texas, her love of art, her discovery of music, bands she played with.....everything up to her death in 1970. I get a bit emotional when I think about Janis' treatment by her high school classmates. She was different, outspoken and misunderstood. And she was bullied terribly for being herself. I had similar experiences in school. Kids can be cruel to anyone who stands out as different. As I read about her experiences growing up, I kept hearing her voice from a television interview in 1970 with Dick Cavet. She said "They laughed me out of class, out of town and out of the state. So I'm going home.'' She traveled home to Port Arthur, TX for her 10th high school reunion. Just a few months later she was dead of a heroin overdose. What a waste of such an awesome talent. I hope in the end she found peace and some pride in herself, her talent and her music. This biography of Janis Joplin is well-written and obviously thoroughly researched. I had an amazing time reading! I'm listening to her music as I write this review. An amazing talent! The picture on the front cover is so hauntingly beautiful. What an amazing person she was -- you can see her fire, creativity and boldness reflected in her gaze. Just lovely! I highly recommend this book to any Janis Joplin fan or those who enjoy 60s/70s music! **I voluntarily read an advance review copy of this book from Simon & Schuster. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. Thanks so much for sharing your music with the world, Janis. RIP**

  11. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    Holley George-Warren spent 4 years writing this book and notes that this is the span of Janis’s career. In those 4 years Janis left an enduring mark and in her 4 years of research and writing George-Warren has written what may be the definitive work. She shows the stages of Janis’s life and how they segued into her career through interviews, Janis’s letters, and 1960’s print and TV items. Due her short life (27 years), the author is able to give detail as well as the big picture. It’s hard to env Holley George-Warren spent 4 years writing this book and notes that this is the span of Janis’s career. In those 4 years Janis left an enduring mark and in her 4 years of research and writing George-Warren has written what may be the definitive work. She shows the stages of Janis’s life and how they segued into her career through interviews, Janis’s letters, and 1960’s print and TV items. Due her short life (27 years), the author is able to give detail as well as the big picture. It’s hard to envision the person Janis had become from looking at where she came. Her typical middle class parents descended from “Pioneer stock” – farmers, tradesmen, real estate agents and boarding house proprietors. Her mother’s family was fundamentalist Christian but suffered from alcoholism, violent arguments and divorce. Both parents loved music. Her father enjoyed a quiet life of reading and classical music. Like her father, Janis became a voracious reader, carrying books on tour and always ready to discuss them. Her mother had performed locally and turned down an offer that could lead her to a singing career in NYC. She followed her mother’s (Janis’s grandmother’s) advice to acquire a marketable skill. Neither Janis nor her mother was pressured to marry, which was not typical of the time. Chapter 6 begins with a quote from Janis “I never seemed to be able to control my feelings…” . She seems to respond to criticism (style, sexuality, drinking) by exaggerating the criticized behavior - which provoked more criticism. For instance if her clothes were criticized she dressed more outrageously. Most devastatingly, campus frat-boys entered her into the “ugly man” contest. While her early performances were mostly knock out successes, her music career went in spurts. She would return to the family home and go to a technical school or college. Once the styles caught up with her in San Francisco things took off. Through most of her adulthood, she could not afford long distance calls; thereby creating the author’s best primary source. Janis wrote her parents often. She writes well – not just grammar and spelling, but what she says. She tells her parents what she is doing – all truthful – but the tone is like a typical career girl in the city. George-Warren shows the contrast in the import of what is said and what is actually happening. There has not been a female singer before or since that could parallel Janis. Aretha holds singular distinctions in rock, pop and gospel, but to my knowledge, no female vocalist had (or has) the natural voice and timing, style, audacity or the grasp of the blues. The book shows how Janis studied Otis Redding, and now that I know this, I can hear the influence. It is easy to conclude that Janis had a deep need for love and affirmation. She did not want to be alone. I’m extrapolating that the defensive behavior (that made her outrageous) and selection of partners (who self-medicated like she did) made her unable to connect and/or find someone who could connect with her. When she thought she did, it only brought disappointment. While surrounded by people, she remained singular and alone as she lived and died. It is good that George-Warren was able to interview so many of Janis’s family and associates (too many have already passed on) to capture spirit of this unusual life now. There is a great collection of photos, a few of which would make a much better cover photo than the one selected. The index worked the few times I tried it. This is highly recommended for those interested in Janis Joplin and/or the music of the 60’s.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Pam Walter

    So what does an adolescent girl do when she faces social rejection? Why of course, she rebels. Thus began the roller coaster life of the most iconic female rock vocalist of all time. Janis Joplin was the eldest of three children born to doting parents in Port Arthur, Texas in 1943. She was an intelligent tomboy as a youngster and had trouble fitting in with her peers. She dealt with rejection by rebelling; eventually abandoning youthful dreams of family and picket fences in favor of counter cult So what does an adolescent girl do when she faces social rejection? Why of course, she rebels. Thus began the roller coaster life of the most iconic female rock vocalist of all time. Janis Joplin was the eldest of three children born to doting parents in Port Arthur, Texas in 1943. She was an intelligent tomboy as a youngster and had trouble fitting in with her peers. She dealt with rejection by rebelling; eventually abandoning youthful dreams of family and picket fences in favor of counter culture, beat poetry and roadhouse blues. She donned baggy clothes, met up with local musicians and joined a band playing at local watering holes -- and she learned to like the water. Janis made her way to the University of Texas where she briefly studied art. She formed a group called "The Waller Creek Boys" and began to develop her gutsy style, influenced by gospel traditions as well as jazz and blues legends like Lead Belly and Bessie Smith. Joplin's alcohol and drug use became a problem between 1963 and 1966, which added turmoil to her travels between New York and San Francisco. The company that makes Southern Comfort gifted Janis Joplin a fur coat for a widely distributed picture of her happily gripping a pint. She made a few trips home to Port Arthur in attempts to get sober. She joined Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1966. With 'Big Brother', she began in the back playing tambourine and ended in front as lead singer. Her career took off at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 when she stole the show with her raw, gritty style. She stunned the audience and won over reviewers with her spectacular rendition of blues classics like Ball and Chain, but the sudden focus of attention on the lead singer caused tension with bandmates. Mama Cass Elliot in the audience at Monterey in Awe of Janis Joplin. Big Brother's first album "Cheap Thrills" was a huge hit - with the now-classic Piece of My Heart and Summertime, but it wasn't long before Janis felt the need to go solo. "It was really important, you know, whether people were going to accept me or not," she told The Village Voice. In 1970 she put together The Full Tilt Boogie Band, and recorded the album Pearl. One of the songs on the album was Mercedes Benz, a scornful jab at consumerism. The album was released posthumously following Janis' death from an accidental overdose of heroin on October 4, 1970. Me and Bobby McGee My one critique is that the book's focus on sexual exploits seems gratuitous. Suffice it to say that Janis Joplin was bisexual; living in the fast lane of the 'free love' generation. Second-hand claims and conjectures are unfair and unnecessary. They say Janis Joplin didn't just feel the vibes, she was the vibes, she owned the vibes. This is Rock and Roll history and I highly recommend it. R.I.P. Janis

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elyse

    NetGalley ARC. Dull, dull. So disappointed. This was a blow-by-blow chronological biography. So there was a lot of unnecessary minutiae that really took away from the excitement of JANIS JOPLIN. Like, hello? She's one of the coolest female rockers EVER and this book hardly portrayed that. You have to slog through at least half the book of her parents' childhoods, her childhood, her schooling, finally her musical tastes and influences, and then the good stuff. Meh. I could've done without it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    M. Sarki

    https://rogueliterarysociety.com/f/ja... More is generally made of Janis Joplin being outrageous and provocative in order to draw attention to herself. A smart, but troubled child, who could never overcome her need to be loved. Contrary to Bob Dylan’s great song, She Belongs to Me, Joplin was an artist who did look back. What is not made enough of was Joplin’s personal style, her acceptance of her inadequate body, and the courage she displayed in posing nude. ...Just four days before her death o https://rogueliterarysociety.com/f/ja... More is generally made of Janis Joplin being outrageous and provocative in order to draw attention to herself. A smart, but troubled child, who could never overcome her need to be loved. Contrary to Bob Dylan’s great song, She Belongs to Me, Joplin was an artist who did look back. What is not made enough of was Joplin’s personal style, her acceptance of her inadequate body, and the courage she displayed in posing nude. ...Just four days before her death on October 4, 1970, she told journalist Howard Smith, “You are only as much as you settle for.” Unfortunately, Janis did settle for heroin and booze, and they both did her in. As grateful as she seemed to be for her earned success and popularity in certain circles, she was a helpless defeatist when it came to love. Nothing ever worked out long-term for this intense and dedicated artist. ...She would later give the Swindle her own name: the kozmic blues, which to her “means no matter what you do, you get shot down anyway.” Janis, and one of her early bands, suffered a bit of trouble in West Hollywood with a night of broken strings, guitars out of tune, and too much Southern Comfort. But still, Janis and the band... managed to “permanently alter...the emotional atmosphere of the city, ...according to Ron Koslow in the music paper KYA Beat, “We won’t be the same until Janis and her voice come back to us. She’s a cross between Besse Smith, Joan of Arc, and a Bengal tiger, a very, very beautiful animal who all at once makes you want to laugh and cry and shriek with terror.” To be liked and appreciated was pretty much all Joplin wanted. Only in her music and stage performance did she achieve her goals. All else failed for her. Desiring love, relationships, sobriety, and one day having a family of her own all fell short and unrequited. Hers is a sad story, and no matter how hard we try to rewrite it, or put a better spin on it, the results remain the same. ...She again wowed the audience: “Kids surround the stage, spilling over with the joy of being reached,” Goldstein reported. “Because to hear Janis once is to have been laid, lovingly and well.” There is more in this book to ponder and learn than any movie or documentary that features Janis Joplin has achieved thus far. Holly George-Warren did a great job showing us the life behind an always rising star. But then Janis burned. And still, we, who cannot tolerate or understand a person different from us, pour more water on her, begrudgingly trying to put an eternal flame away. In contrast, it is Holly George-Warren who gracefully throws more fuel on her iconic flame.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Dozens of books have been written about Janis Joplin. As a fan, I’ve read many of them, and know the gist—they follow the tale of a sad girl, bullied throughout her youth who joined the counterculture to find acceptance, skyrocketed to rockstar fame with a larger than life voice, and met an untimely death by an accidental overdose. Here though, Holly George-Warren shares a much fuller picture: we get the full Janis, starting with the smart girl who skipped a grade in school and was the apple of Dozens of books have been written about Janis Joplin. As a fan, I’ve read many of them, and know the gist—they follow the tale of a sad girl, bullied throughout her youth who joined the counterculture to find acceptance, skyrocketed to rockstar fame with a larger than life voice, and met an untimely death by an accidental overdose. Here though, Holly George-Warren shares a much fuller picture: we get the full Janis, starting with the smart girl who skipped a grade in school and was the apple of her parents’ eye. We get the idealist who defied her white Texas high school class by staunchly opposing segregation. We get the self-analytic, self-aware, therapy-going Janis. We get dedicated artist in the studio who also produced. We get the hothead, the beatnik, the talented painter, the animal lover. George-Warren delivers an in-depth look at the woman who often idealized a white-picket-fence life whenever her heart was broken and dreamed of domesticity as a way of fleeing the talent that unleashed her deepest emotions—hard emotions and traumas that she worked tirelessly to stifle through drinking and drug use. “Every night … my head starts filling w/past unhappiness. … I want to be happy.” I loved this read and truly didn’t want it to end. I love you, Janis <3

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lee Husemann

    I was not a fan of Janis Joplin's music when she was popular but I watched a biography about her on TV and became interested in her. This was an excellent book about Janis from the time she was born until her tragic death at the age of 27. in 1970. It was well researched and well written and I had a hard time putting it down. I was surprised to find out what a talented artist she was as well as being a very talented musician. Even if you are not a fan of her type of music, I highly recommend thi I was not a fan of Janis Joplin's music when she was popular but I watched a biography about her on TV and became interested in her. This was an excellent book about Janis from the time she was born until her tragic death at the age of 27. in 1970. It was well researched and well written and I had a hard time putting it down. I was surprised to find out what a talented artist she was as well as being a very talented musician. Even if you are not a fan of her type of music, I highly recommend this very interesting book. Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this fantastic book in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Antonia Casey

    4.5 stars. Janis Joplin was an idol of mine as an angsty young teen. As I matured, my attitude toward her gradually shifted from admiring an older, more experienced woman to marveling at the power that emanated from someone so terribly young and fragile. There is simply nothing uplifting about the tragic tale of her brief life. However, Holly George-Warren relates it very affectingly, without sensationalism, and with the respect and affection Janis always craved but never found.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Karyn

    Janis has always had a piece of my heart, and Holly George Warren actually chipped away a bigger piece of my heart for Janis, which I give freely. “Don’t compromise yourself. You’re all you’ve got.” ~ Janis Joplin

  19. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    I was never a super fan of Janis back in the late 60’s and early 70’s but her talent was undeniable. This book though, brings that timeframe (one of my personal favs) back to life, and reveals the real Janis from childhood, toward every step of her rise to rock queen. She wanted it so badly and she worked so hard for everything achieved. She was smart, just a tad naive at times, but she knew what she wanted and no one was going to stand in her way to get there. She was also kind, with a huge hea I was never a super fan of Janis back in the late 60’s and early 70’s but her talent was undeniable. This book though, brings that timeframe (one of my personal favs) back to life, and reveals the real Janis from childhood, toward every step of her rise to rock queen. She wanted it so badly and she worked so hard for everything achieved. She was smart, just a tad naive at times, but she knew what she wanted and no one was going to stand in her way to get there. She was also kind, with a huge heart and a big talent that was difficult to rein in. Captivating book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cristen

    I haven’t read a memoir/biography in about 7 years , this story of Janis Joplin’s life was wonderful . I strongly suggest listening to her music while you read as it gives every song and lyric so much more meaning. She is and will always be one of my favorites

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stinky Girl

    This is a bood book about her struggles with drugs and men, and her triumphs in the music business.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paul Ataua

    I have always been fascinated by Janis Joplin. At a time when we were all trying to find ourselves existentially, she was the one that seemed to be living her life straight. She was doing things in good faith while we were just making empty gestures towards being who we were. The book seems like one sad testament to a character who was one of those rare characters who was determined to do exactly what she really wanted to do, but at no point really knew what she really wanted to do. There’s lots I have always been fascinated by Janis Joplin. At a time when we were all trying to find ourselves existentially, she was the one that seemed to be living her life straight. She was doing things in good faith while we were just making empty gestures towards being who we were. The book seems like one sad testament to a character who was one of those rare characters who was determined to do exactly what she really wanted to do, but at no point really knew what she really wanted to do. There’s lots in here about her life and music, so it’s worth the time, but it’s a pretty sad read and, in the end, Janis comes out as all too human.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kara Thomas

    I won this in a giveaway other I probably would have never picked it up, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. While reading it, I had a desire to listen to some of the more commonly mentioned songs. I realized that I had probably heard the chorus to Piece of My Heart hundreds of times but had never listened to entire song. I don’t particularly enjoy her sound, but it amazing what she stood for and how she battled demons. The book seemed well researched and mentioned several other artist I won this in a giveaway other I probably would have never picked it up, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. While reading it, I had a desire to listen to some of the more commonly mentioned songs. I realized that I had probably heard the chorus to Piece of My Heart hundreds of times but had never listened to entire song. I don’t particularly enjoy her sound, but it amazing what she stood for and how she battled demons. The book seemed well researched and mentioned several other artists so if you like rock biographies, I’d recommend adding this to your TBR.

  24. 4 out of 5

    W.

    Since I saw the movie The Rose , way back in the late '80 - and I just dated myself - I began listening and appreciating Janis's singular voice and music. That movie made me curious , as it was loosely based on her tumultuous life . Through the years, I read few articles and saw TV clips of Janis performing but always wanted to know more of her as a person , as a woman , as daughter and as an artist. The complete psychological makeup of who she was and how she became Janis, the persona , the Ico Since I saw the movie The Rose , way back in the late '80 - and I just dated myself - I began listening and appreciating Janis's singular voice and music. That movie made me curious , as it was loosely based on her tumultuous life . Through the years, I read few articles and saw TV clips of Janis performing but always wanted to know more of her as a person , as a woman , as daughter and as an artist. The complete psychological makeup of who she was and how she became Janis, the persona , the Icon , the world knows. This book gave me front row seat to her story . It is far-reaching ,detailed and fascinatingly written and it seems objectively researched. Remarkably, by the end of the book, you feel , as you have been Janis lifelong friend. I received an early copy of Janis , at my request from the publisher, Simon & Schuster via NetGalley and am leaving my voluntarily and unbiased review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Bowen

    I feel that this book was missing something. When I read a book about someone life I want to feel like i know that person. The author did not do it. I have to said that the author had a lot of good facts about her and her life. I feel she was a very sad individual. She had a hard life at a young age. I love the ending of this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Leavitt

    I wasn't sure that there was anything about Janis Joplin that might be new to say, but this bio was exhilarating. Fresh, different, it gets at the soul of Janis herself, from childhood to stardom. Plus, the writing is so great, so immersive, it gives you this you-are-there feeling.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andy Miller

    I was walking between high school classes when I overheard someone say that Janis Joplin had just died. It wasn't a complete shock, Jimi Hendrix and other young musicians had recently died of overdoses and Joplin's persona certainly included a wild lifestyle with drug use. But her death still hit hard, she was larger than life and I so loved her music. My favorite album of hers, Pearl, was released after her death, and we played it over and over again, especially "Me and Bobby McGee" and "Merced I was walking between high school classes when I overheard someone say that Janis Joplin had just died. It wasn't a complete shock, Jimi Hendrix and other young musicians had recently died of overdoses and Joplin's persona certainly included a wild lifestyle with drug use. But her death still hit hard, she was larger than life and I so loved her music. My favorite album of hers, Pearl, was released after her death, and we played it over and over again, especially "Me and Bobby McGee" and "Mercedes Benz." I often have wondered why Joplin still has such a hold on many of us almost fifty years later given that her career was so short and the library of her recordings relatively small. This well written, comprehensive and balanced biography helps explain why along with taking the reader back to such a different time. Joplin's early life in Port Arthur Texas started pretty conventional though her dad, an oil industry executive quietly differed with his disinterest in football and his hidden atheism, her mom loved music and performed for awhile. As Joplin grew older her desire to fit lessened as she grew more and more estranged from her high school's conformity, her outspoken advocacy for civil rights and love for different types of music hastened that, but while she was choosing a different path she was still hurt by the cruelty inflicted the school's leaders. Jimmy Johnson, the football star who later became the Dallas Cowboys coach, was especially cruel. After high school, Joplin's life became wilder, she went to different colleges, her sporadic attendance increased problems with her parents and Joplin's life increasingly focused on her music, drug and alcohol use and sex, lots of sex with both men and women. All are detailed in the book as well as her move to the Bay area where she eventually became lead singer for the local band, Big Brother and the Holding Company. Joplin wanted to be a star, when she met Bob Dylan she told him "I just love you and I'm going to famous one day too" Joplin did enjoy being famous, did enjoy her success and the things that she bought with her increasing wealth. But the book's balance describes Joplin's never vanishing demons, the increasing disapproval and worry from her parents, her unsatisfied desire for a loving relationship even as she enjoyed sex with many different partners and of course her battles with drug addiction. Joplin's complexity is shown by her conflicting emotions when she left Big Brother and the Holding Company even as almost everyone from fellow musicians to record executives told her that the band just wasn't good enough. As she becomes more famous and successful she meets so many who are still famous, it was fascinating to read stories from that time such as the time she was listening to Jimi Hendrix at a club when Jim Morrison approaches Hendrix and tells him he wants to suck his **** with caused an enraged Joplin to hit Morrison's head with a bottle, prompting a brawl ended only by their respective handlers. The last chapters are hard to read because you know the ending. Joplin wanted to be happy, she made strides to end her addiction, she was on the road to even more success while recording Pearl with good musicians that she got along with. Sadly though, addiction fueled with life issues ended up winning the day, causing the loss of a complicated but good woman whose music and energy were so enjoyed by so many of us

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karen Kay

    I received this from Netgalley.com for a review. From the blurb, "This blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was." Although a rather dry read, this is a chronological look at Joplin's childhood and her life as she rose to stardom. 2.75 stars I received this from Netgalley.com for a review. From the blurb, "This blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was." Although a rather dry read, this is a chronological look at Joplin's childhood and her life as she rose to stardom. 2.75 stars

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eva Smith

    Big thumbs down. This is the sixth book I have read about Janis Joplin and I didn’t expect to learn anything new. But I didn’t expect sloppy journalism that includes idle tittle-tattle. The author apparently interviewed anybody and everybody who would say he/she had sex with Janis. Buzzards picking her bones. Adding insult to injury, the author cites a couple of what sounded like joking remarks and writes that Janis turned to prostitution on a couple of occasions. Nonsense. And there is a big gaff Big thumbs down. This is the sixth book I have read about Janis Joplin and I didn’t expect to learn anything new. But I didn’t expect sloppy journalism that includes idle tittle-tattle. The author apparently interviewed anybody and everybody who would say he/she had sex with Janis. Buzzards picking her bones. Adding insult to injury, the author cites a couple of what sounded like joking remarks and writes that Janis turned to prostitution on a couple of occasions. Nonsense. And there is a big gaffe. In my phrase collection is “Saturday Night Swindle.” It is a phrase that Janis heard from her father’s friend. In the book, the author says the phrase was said by her father. Here is the story from a more credible source: Janis herself: THE GREAT SATURDAY NIGHT SWINDLE – “She (Janis Joplin) liked to tell a story about herself, explaining how she came to understand the world and her place in it. It started with her father, Seth Joplin, the only person in Port Arthur who ‘made her think.’ When she was twenty years old and still struggling with her desire to become a singer, she wrote him a long letter about her frustrations and unmet expectations: ‘(You) always told me it was going to get better, and I always thought it was an incline up, that one day would level off. And you know, you motherf**ker, it ain’t leveling off…People used to tell me, when you grow up, it’ll be okay, or when you get the right man, it’ll be okay. I did all those things and it wasn’t okay…I felt burned.’ "She mailed her father the letter. Seth Joplin had a best friend, ‘the only other intellectual in town,’ she explained. ‘This guy also dug me a lot and thought a lot of me. And my father showed him the letter.’ The next time she returned home to Port Arthur, her father’s best friend walked in, ‘with a sly smile on his face and he reached out his hand and said, ‘Well, Janis, I hear ya heard about the Great Saturday Night Swindle.’ She had never heard the phrase before, but she understood it immediately – this was the root of the Kosmic Blues…” From “A Bad Woman Feeling Good: Blues and the Women Who Sing Them” by Buzzy Jackson (W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 2005). Page 231.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bonnye Reed

    I received a free electronic copy of this biography from Netgalley, Holly George-Warren, and Simon Schuster. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read Janis: Her Life and Music of my own volition and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. This is a book every woman should read. Janis was - and still is - an important factor in my lifetime. She was a wonderful musician, and she brought happiness or tears to your eyes with her songs. She was for me an example of t I received a free electronic copy of this biography from Netgalley, Holly George-Warren, and Simon Schuster. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read Janis: Her Life and Music of my own volition and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. This is a book every woman should read. Janis was - and still is - an important factor in my lifetime. She was a wonderful musician, and she brought happiness or tears to your eyes with her songs. She was for me an example of taking the whole woman's lib thing at least one step too far - but oh, Lord, take a step or two down that road or no one else will acknowledge your independence and self-will. This book was a long, hard read. Watching the self-destruction at close range was if anything even more difficult than it was back in the day. But reading this made her legacy even more memorable, more important than before. So much of it was not shared with her public, or if it was we considered it to be sour grapes or jealousy. Through the eyes of Holly George-Warren, we not only see Janis falling into space - we also see her climbing the highest hill. She was a remarkable woman with an extraordinary talent. May her music live on into the lifetimes of our children and theirs, as well as the important lessons in prudence and self-esteem that Janis never found. pub date October 22, 2019 Simon Schuster Reviewed on October 29 on Goodreads, Netgalley, AmazonSmile, Barnes & Noble, BookBub, Kobo, and GooglePlay.

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