35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
An under-appreciated classic,
This review is from: Going Down With Janis (Mass Market Paperback)
I have to admit that this is my favorite of the Janis biographies, and I have read them all. Like the singer herself, this book has had its share of mud slung at it over the years. It is a downtrodden and spat-upon book among the populace, unfairly so. Peggy Caserta, in my opinion, does not exploit Janis in this expose, but rather tells a story that brings Janis to life in so many creative and endearing ways that none of the other biographies ever accomplished.
Sure, there are certain outrageous, pulp fiction moments that could have only been written by a man, in this case Don Knapp. But the bulk of this tale reveals a tender and affectionate portrait of Janis, one painted with humor, frankness and entertaining detail. Peggy Caserta has been dismissed over the years as someone who was more of an acquaintance to Janis than a real lover and friend. How, then, did Peggy become the one person Janis wanted helicoptered to Woodstock to join her at the monumental occasion if she were merely an insignificant sidekick?
Peggy and Janis were lovers and addicts. This is the unvarnished truth of the matter. Hopefully Peggy will get her due someday with this under-appreciated book, and a publisher will come along to render it from the out-of-print status and bless us with a new edition, complete with an addendum to the story of Peggy herself, and how she has coped over the years with the invective that has been hurled at her for this book. She was not responsible for Janis's death. Janis was. Yet she has been cast as the villain by such biographers as Myra Friedman, whose overrated "Buried Alive" did more damage to Janis's memory than anything Peggy could have ever contemplated writing. And if you want to read an exploitive biography, try "Pearl, the Obsessions and Passions..." These are the writers who have trashed Janis, NOT Peggy.
Upon reading this very unique book, one can only wonder what Peggy is up to these days, and hope she is faring well.
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Initial post: Mar 22, 2009 11:01:07 AM PDT
Margaret A. Haumann says:
Karen, your review was more effective than you know, you hit on the truth intuitively with amazing accuracy. In response to the question posted in the latter part of your review, I have some info for you. I tried to contact you through friend request, but was unsuccessful. This is no BS. I hope you are doing well. Take a chance, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. I respectfully request no one else try to contact me as a result of this posting. No one but Karen will receive a response.
Posted on Mar 10, 2012 5:24:39 PM PST
Ted A. Mcelroy says:
Going Down With Janis
I read this book in 1976 and since I was such a fan of Janice Joplin I could not put it down. Her life burned so brightly and then so rapidly for such a talented artist to burn out so quickly was a great loss to all of us that enjoyed her music. Her demons of drug and alcohol addiction then the sensitivity and sadness that Peggy Caserta reveals of their downward spiral is truly poignant and heart breaking. I hope that this book is put back into print again because I never kept my copy, but passed it along to other friends who were also fans of Joplin.
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