cover image Love Me Please!: The Story of Janis Joplin

Love Me Please!: The Story of Janis Joplin

Nicolas Finet and Christopher, trans. from the French by Montana Kane. NBM, $24.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-68112-276-2

Solid art and thorough research make for a serviceable but unexceptional rock biography, ticking off the key points in Janis Joplin’s life, from her youth in the sleepy town of Port Arthur, Tex., to her escape into the San Francisco hippie scene, to her sudden, tragically brief ascent to rock stardom. Joplin’s mood swings are on display from her early life; and as she dives into 1960s counterculture, her appetite for booze, drugs, sex, and excitement (she hustles pool and picks fights with Hell’s Angels) is depicted as sometimes liberating, but more often desperate and dangerous. The only constant is her musical talent, which awes her fellow musicians even as she struggles to find success. Christopher’s art glows when the Summer of Love hits full bloom, with collage-style psychedelic excess, but in other sections the art can be workmanlike. Finet’s script strains to contain Joplin’s turbulent life into one volume, with abrupt jumps (her entire European tour is covered in a single two-page spread). The intensity of Joplin’s music and spirit sporadically shine through, but the book’s central theme—her search for love in all the wrong places—remains underdeveloped. This import provides a starter summary, but Joplin’s larger-than-life talent demands a bigger venue. (July)