Monday, October 11, 2010

Janis Joplin:Rise Up Singing - Ann Angel

Janis Joplin: Rise Up Signing by Ann Angel
If any one asked me who Janis Joplin was, I could eaily answer a rock singer from the sixties. That's all I knew, until now.

The biography opens with a wonderful introduction by Sam Andrew, a band mate and close friend of Janis Joplin. I was moved by Andrew's words about a talented friend who died too soon. Janis Joplin's musical career was barely three years. Angel begins with Joplins High School years at Port Arthur Texas in the 1950's.

Before reading this I always took Janis Joplin's success for granted. But Joplin wasn't one of many female rock star artist, she was the first. The author does an excellent job of explaining this from the very beginning. She addresses the 1950's culture and everyone's need to fit in. For women that meant getting married right out of high school. Joplin simply wasn't that type of woman.

This great biography gives us a very good sense of Janis Joplin in all the stages in her life. From Joplin's supportive family and friends, to Joplins Big Brother and the Holding Company bandmates,to her Blues musical influence, to Joplins musical talents, and addictions. Angel doesn't gloss over Joplin's drug addiction which ultimately killed her. The author also captures the hippie culture of the 1960's.

I love there are quotes from many, including bandmates, friends and Joplin's sister. Throughout, there are black and white photographs. In the back the author includes several notes attributing all the quotes as well as bibliography. Some teens may find it hard to relate to Joplins lack of choices or freedom due to gender. Though many will be able to relate to her outcast status and Joplins desire to find whatever it was she was looking for.

I linked this post to nonfiction Monday, the round up can be found at Picture Book of the Day.

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