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Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing Hardcover – October 1, 2010
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From School Library Journal
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Top Customer Reviews
"Fame had nurtured and encouraged Janis's wild, over-the-top behavior. People loved when she swaggered onto the stage with a bottle of Southern Comfort or waxed lyrical about getting high. And, along the way, she became as hooked on adulation as she was on drugs and alcohol. It was the attention she craved all her life, from her lonely high school days to her spirited college days to her crazy days in San Francisco, speeding around town in her psychedelic Porsche. To feed her voracious need for more love and praise, she became ever more outrageous. She took greater and greater personal risks until, finally, sheer carelessness caught up with her..." (Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing, page 99).
Janis was an awesome blues singer. I saw her shortly after she joined Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1966. But her life went out of control, resulting in her untimely death. This books celebrates the music, while providing a cautionary tale for readers that "sex, drugs and rock and roll" can lead down a dark path to addiction, and in this case, eventually death.
For a young person wanting to better understand what Janis was all about, or to get a better understanding of the psychedelic music scene in the late Sixties, this volume does an amazing job of showing it as it was.
Joplin's story is told warmly and simply, never faltering or pandering to a younger audience. Her journey from Port Arthur to Austin to San Francisco is set in a solid description of American mainstream life of the era, allowing readers to imagine what they might have chosen for themselves had they lived in conservative post-war times. Joplin's struggle to invent herself as an artist is depicted non-judgementally, with honest details about her experiences with drugs and alcohol as well as the brief time she spent attempting to live a "normal" life back home before abandoning herself to her art. Overall, I found this to be an exceptional addition to the field of biographies for teens.
But Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing is more than the average biography. Angel brings Joplin to life. She manages to balance personal Janis and rockstar Janis on the page, something real life Janis always struggled with. The result is a history of the era and environment that produced Joplin the icon, as well as the story of how normal kids, like Joplin, dealt with all the changes the 60s brought about. Anecdotes from Joplin's friends and band mates appear throughout the text as do professional pictures of Joplin and her bands. The most quoted person in the book is Laura, Joplin's little sister. Sex, drugs and rock n'roll are definitely present in the book, and the over the top drug use is discussed, but Angel shows that Joplin's drug use was never her biggest problem. It was Joplin's need for love and attention that drove her to perform, and it was her fans' love of her drugged-up persona that drove her to use.
But it was Joplin's voice that made her a success, and somehow that comes through on the page. Maybe it was just that I had "Piece of My Heart" and "Me and Bobby McGee" stuck in my head for most of the time I spent reading this book (until "Mercedes Benz" was mentioned of course), but I thought Angel conveyed the grit and soul of Joplin's voice amazingly.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nothing new here. I own every single biography ever written about Janis Joplin, so when I saw "Rise Up Singing," I jumped and immediately bought it. Read morePublished on February 17, 2012 by Chippy
For whatever reason, the author has obviously elected to bring out the worst points about this tremendously talented singer, and leave out all the warm and loving stories about... Read morePublished on October 26, 2011 by 40LIXX
This is a wonderful non-fiction young adult book. I am covering Rise Up Singing in a Book Talk for a college level young adult literature class. Read morePublished on October 25, 2011 by TheAlyWay
I didn't like this book because it is poorly researched with a lot of unrelated pictures of people Janis did not know. Read morePublished on February 6, 2011 by Hoyt Neal
YALSA just gave this book the "excellence in non-fiction" for teens award and named it the best non-fiction book for young adults in 2011. Read morePublished on January 12, 2011 by Emily
This book covers Janis's life starting from her days at Port Arthur High School, in Port Arthur, Texas, and covering her life and career up through her untimely death, and even... Read morePublished on January 11, 2011 by Gary Covington
Here is an excellent new biography of Sixties Rock icon Janis Joplin, geared to a modern teen audience. Read morePublished on December 15, 2010 by Suzy Wildwood