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I Put A Spell On You: The Autobiography Of Nina Simone Paperback – August 14, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Simone grew up during the Depression in a small North Carolina town where, thanks to a farsighted music teacher and caring neighbors who paid for her lessons, she was trained as a classical pianist. After attending Juilliard on a scholarship she was rejected by the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia (a setback she attributes to the fact that she is black), and she became a nightclub entertainer, singing and accompanying herself on the piano and, with her skillful improvisations of popular songs in classical style, quickly becoming a star. In the 1960s she joined the civil rights movement and became well known as a protest singer. Then, in the 1970s and '80s, disillusioned with the U.S., she went into self-imposed exile in Africa and Europe. Unfortunately, written with freelancer Cleary, her account of these later years, in which she concentrates on personal problems and a number of tiresome love affairs, lacks the interest of the early part of the book, which describes her unusual childhood and remarkable rise to fame. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Compelling, honest, and powerful. It is meticulously packed with historical information on America during some of its ugliest times, coming from the voice of someone who lived through it everyday…a voice of a woman who devoted her adult life to changing the face of society…From a musical standpoint alone, I Put a Spell On You is an extremely valuable read. However, this would also be a unique, relevant and worthwhile addition to any high-school or collegiate history library, or anyone with an interest in the civil rights movement both politically and artistically.”
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Top Customer Reviews
The point is not to ponder how Nina Simone could have, or should have lived her life, but to discover how she did live her life. I don't think Nina Simone had to prove anything or give us any more - she already gave so much of herself through her music. And had she not suffered, her music might not have had the depth and richness that is has. If anything, the rest of us should never forget that we get all the benefits of her suffering without the pain.
As for the writing of the book, you can only do so much with the material that you have. From what I read of her life, except for the music aspect of it, she was no different than the many knuckle head women and young girls that you see out on the streets in this day and time. She knew right from wrong no matter what was going in her life so there is no excuse for why she did a lot of the things she did.
I will give her respect for having a voice during the civil rights movement and actually saying something because a lot of people just shut their mouths and kept it moving in fear of their life being disrupted in a way that they didn't want.
One of this country's most brilliant musicians "I put a spell on you" gave me the opportunity to put a face on those Nina Simone records I play over and over again.
I would recommend that those of you who love her music, take the time to understand this remarkable women by reading her biography.
The book was written for an American audience, but a lot of the usages/ spellings were British English, and that became annoying.
The quality of the photos was very poor-- One comes away from this book with the impression that it was done in a very seat-of-the-pants way.
1. She seems to think that every thing that went wrong in her life is the fault of America. So, she did not pay attention to where her money was going during the time that she was performing and duly got ripped off. But that has something to do with America and the establishment.
2. Ego! She's been known to call herself "Dr." Simone-- on the basis of having been granted an honorary degree. She also talks of being able to play "hundreds of songs" and reviews herself in glowing terms-- but her songs are distinctly not even as technical as, say, something done by Ray Charles.
3. Not the sharpest pencil in the box! Can you imagine someone that marries a man AFTER he beats her to a pulp and then has no memory of doing it? Can you imagine someone that talks about socialism as something that was a good idea-- in a book that was published AFTER the collapse of the Soviet Union?
4. Very needy/ emotionally unstable. Someone dancing naked at a club? Passing over many other men to find a married man that she thought was going to leave his wife for his piece on the side? Huh? Huh?
Not worth more than $5 (I bought it second hand) and one afternoon of reading time.