Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing

Ann Angel, Abrams/Amulet, $19.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-8109-8349-6
Angel (Such a Pretty Face), an admitted Joplin fan, pens a fast-paced biography of the iconic singer's short life and tragic demise with an undercurrent of homage. Over 10 chapters, the dichotomous nature of the 1960s star emerges—as a self- destructive, renegade rocker and an insecure, attention-craving young woman—and readers come away with a good sense of both. Evocative writing describes Joplin's world: from her struggles in her confining Texas hometown to the San Francisco hippie scene and her performances. "Her voice purred and rose in a wail that sent shivers through the crowd. She swung her hair and stomped her foot, moaning.... And then her voice escalated in a keening scream." Personal photographs, album covers, and playbills flesh out Joplin's life story (b&w photographs show a young Joplin in a church choir and elementary school operetta, while a later image depicts the singer, a breast bared, in bed with partially nude bandmates). Recalling motifs from that era, curlicue graphics overlay vivid colors to create vertical borders. A time line, source notes, bibliography, and index conclude this tribute to a complicated pioneer. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/11/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
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