cover image The Devil, Me, and Jerry Lee

The Devil, Me, and Jerry Lee

Linda Gail Lewis. Longstreet Press, $20 (160pp) ISBN 978-1-56352-526-1

""Jerry Lee is not a candy ass,"" writes Lewis in this affectionate memoir of her life with her brother, rock legend Jerry Lee Lewis. What she's saying is hardly news--given that Jerry Lee's nickname is ""The Killer,"" he hardly needs such a defense--but the author writes in a vivid, colloquial voice that makes old news seem almost fresh. Though Lewis's book abounds with colorful boasts regarding the sturdy Lewis libido (apparently shared by Jerry Lee, the author and their cousin Jimmy Swaggart), fans will learn little they didn't already know about the man who graced the world with the hit ""Great Balls of Fire."" Lewis is charming when she describes her fits of wanderlust, as when she left her family to tour the country with her older brother and his band, but one wishes she had applied her talent for brisk, direct prose to telling the story of the balancing act she has had to perform as both a mother and a traveling musician (which she only briefly addresses). Lewis also pads her narrative with worn-out anecdotes, recalling the moment when John Lennon kissed Jerry Lee's feet and the performance in which an uninvited and unwanted Janis Joplin joined Jerry Lee onstage. Lewis's appealing, plainspoken style notwithstanding, this slim family album will be appreciated by diehard fans and quickly forgotten by everyone else. (Dec.)