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Love, Janis Paperback – August 16, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Blues singer Janis Joplin, who died of a heroin overdose in 1970 at the age of 27, is recalled here by her sister, who seems as square as Janis was hip. Although the portrait opens inauspiciously with a yawn-inducing chapter on the family tree, it gains momentum as it describes the performer's adolescence in Port Arthur, Tex. She emerges as a woman who resisted stereotypical feminine behavior; no student, she dropped out of college twice--first to move to Venice, Calif., later to live in San Francisco. Her warm, exuberant, apparently infrequent letters to her concerned family glorify the late-'60s Haight-Ashbury scene, where she gained notoriety and wealth with the band Big Brother and the Holding Company. The book chronicles the singer's drug and alcohol abuse, her famous friends (who included cartoonist Gilbert Shelton and musician Country Joe McDonald) and her overwhelming fame. Despite her sister's occasionally disapproving, jealous tone, fans will welcome this intimate, poignant look at a fondly missed superstar. Photos. 60,000 first printing; first serial to Rolling Stone; author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
From School Library Journal
YA-- Beginning with Joplin's death, focusing backwards for a short family history, and then to the personal and professional life of this blues star, this book is written with both love and objectivity. YAs will identify with the young woman's adolescent angst, her search for purpose, her support of social justice, her friendships, and the seriousness with which she approached both art and life. Joplin's disillusionment with college, her introduction to the music and the Beat scenes in California, and her involvement in drugs and advocation of sexual experimentation are acknowledged, set in context of the turbulent '60s, and accepted as part of Janis. Students should enjoy the conversational text enhanced by interviews with her friends and professional colleagues, the wide variety of personal photos, and most particularly, the large collection of letters written between September 1964-April 1970.
- Barbara Hawkins, Oakton High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Recently I went to see the Broadway Play Love, Janis and after hearing some portions of the letters read as part of the play, my interest in the book was sparked and I purchased it. Having done so, I think the writer of that review owes the world, and certainly Laura Joplin an apology. This book was beautifully written by someone who, as her sister, could give us insights that no one else ever could. I would like to include here a quote from the book, which certainly proves to me that Laura Joplin understood it all.
She was explaining the talents that each member of Big Brother and the Holding company brought to the group. "Janis brought her roots in blues. She knew the blues, and wanted her audience to know them through her. If the audience sought to have all its senses aroused at a concert, then Janis, as trance enhancer, brought total commitment to her music. Hers was not a music born merely of the vocal cords anyway, but an ensemble piece within her physical presence alone. She coaxed the music with urging arms and strutting steps. She delved deep within herself, so that piecs of her soul seemed to dance along the harmonies and ride the tidal waves of sound that defined her voice."
Laura Joplin does not shrink from her sister's drug and alcohol use, her bisexual love affairs, or anything else. She talks of Janis' insecurities and where they originated. She tells her story with deep honesty. The book includes the Joplin family tree. Not just a list of grandparents names but a small history of each forefather explaining what brought them together and brought her parents eventually to Port Arthur, Texas and also gives the reader a glimpse of the sturdy stock from which Janis came. It shows you a soft and sensitive, loving side of Janis' that we surely knew was there, but the truth of which could only really be provided by Laura's glimpse into personal family history. Of course Janis, growing up in the 50's and 60's would not have been a wild hippy child during her younger years. Hippies hadn't happened yet. The 50's and early 60's were very "straight" times. This book is where you learn how the Caterpillar turned into the Butterfly that she became. I think we are incredibly fortunate that Laura Joplin was willing to set the record straight and willing to share such personal tidbits from their home and family life. There must have been alot of soul searching and emotional moments that went into creating this book and we should be grateful to Laura for having done it. I deeply treasure this addition to my collection of books on Janis, just as I treasure the music that our Janis, queen of the blues, left as her legacy. I hope wherever she is that she is able to know how many people she touched; the ever growing number of fans she still has and how many of us truly always will Love Janis.
I have read Piece Of My Heart (Dave Dalton) and Pearl (Ellis Amburn), both of which were good books to read.
But Laura's book tells about Janis growing up, relationships she had with school and college friends. Some of
the men she met along the way who may or may-not have caused her disillusionment.
Laura has letters written by Janis from the early days in San Fransisco, when Big Brother was just starting out
with Janis as a new singer in the band. The letters show a young happy girl, excited about the scene in San Francisco.
Janis's letters describe how the other Haight/Ashbury girls dress, the weird names of the other bands.
Laura writes well and keeps the biogaphy interesting. She was very proud of the book and I can see why. It really
is a great acknowledgement to Janis.
I'm glad Laura wrote the book and I'm glad she shared the letters from Janis with us. It made Janis more real. Not just
a great blues/rock singer, but a real young lady, confused and amazed at how people around her were loving her music. Echols book painted Janis as a loser at school. Laura's book goes deeper into that period and gives a different viewpoint.
She was not an abused child or anything like that. She just wanted to find something she loved and art and singing filled those needs for her.She loved music and to sign. She wsa brave and self-confident although once she secured her music deal with Columbia and Clive Davis, she stayed with the drugs. It's just real SAD! Some people are just born restless or are looking for happiness so hard, and find fame and money isn't enough. She was so young she never gave herself a chance to see what could be over the next horizon if she'd of just held on a few more years becuase everyone changes. She did go to a shirk but that didn't help either. ~
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of her younger sister, told...Read more