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Summary

Longlisted for the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence

This blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was.

Janis Joplin’s first transgressive act was to be a white girl who gained an early sense of the power of the blues, music you could only find on obscure records and in roadhouses along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast. But even before that, she stood out in her conservative oil town. She was a tomboy who was also intellectually curious and artistic. By the time she reached high school, she had drawn the scorn of her peers for her embrace of the Beats and her racially progressive views. Her parents doted on her in many ways, but were ultimately put off by her repeated acts of defiance.

Janis Joplin has passed into legend as a brash, impassioned soul doomed by the pain that produced one of the most extraordinary voices in rock history. But in this audio, Holly George-Warren provides a revelatory and deeply satisfying portrait of a woman who wasn’t all about suffering. Janis was a perfectionist: a passionate, erudite musician who was born with talent but also worked exceptionally hard to develop it. She was a woman who pushed the boundaries of gender and sexuality long before it was socially acceptable. She was a sensitive seeker who wanted to marry and settle down - but couldn’t, or wouldn’t. She was a Texan who yearned to flee Texas but could never quite get away - even after becoming a countercultural icon in San Francisco.

Written by one of the most highly regarded chroniclers of American music history, and based on unprecedented access to Janis Joplin’s family, friends, band mates, archives, and long-lost interviews, Janis is a complex, rewarding portrait of a remarkable artist finally getting her due.    

©2019 Holly George-Warren (P)2019 Simon & Schuster Audio

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Brilliant!

Really interesting insight into Janis Joplin throughout her life and career, I really enjoyed this book even though I'm not a massive fan.

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  • Hannah
  • 09-04-20

Well framed & Amazing Performance

Nina Arianda performance is outstanding. Her Joplin impression makes you feel like you are listening to Janis herself. The story is very well rounded and enlightens the reader/listener to details of JJ’s life that are not well known. Clearly, this story was very well researched, and paints a very clear image of Janis and how she felt about the events that shaped her life experiences. The only critique that I have is that I wish there were more first hand accounts from people who spent the most time with her in her last years of life. Definitely worth adding to your library!!!

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  • John Benicy
  • 24-11-19

A beautiful book, perfectly read

I have been listening to Jimi, The Doors, The Dead and Janis for quite a few decades, and not until this book did I realize how little actually knew about Janis' life. This book starts with her childhood and takes you all the way through her superstardom, and along the way planting seeds of imagination and reigniting a desire to listen once more to her music with a different perspective, this newfound knowledge helped me better understand her drive, her pain, and what drove her from Texas, into music, drinking, playing live, and being JANIS JOPLIN.

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  • AF
  • 19-11-19

You need this book in your library!

This book is amazing and makes you feel at tines as though you were there with Janis. The book grabs hold of you and keeps you there wanting more. You will have a whole new renewed appreciation of Janis Joplin and the life she led. I can only imagine her as she passed before I was born but feel her in my bones. But this book and listen to it over and over - learn, live and love!

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  • eternalkarma
  • 20-06-21

great

Theres been very few female artists as great as Janis , if any, this audio book was a great description of Janis Joplins life. listened all the way through enjoying every sentence, well read too the lady capturing Janis's spirit

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  • Maranda Crandall
  • 18-08-20

Keeping Janis Alive

I am a 26 year old fan. This book helps all future generations, like mine, get to know the real Janis. I loved stopping the story every now and then to go watch her live performances on YT. She truly was a once in a life time soul <3

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  • volunteer
  • 08-07-20

Great surprise

This was a book club choice which i wasn’t thrilled about. I’m in my 60’s so I did know a lot about Janis and the music of her time. But her story here along with so many references to musicians, and the evolving music scene of the time was really good. Loved the narrator and her impersonation of Janis throughout the book.
Highly recommend.

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  • PATRICIA SPIERS
  • 03-05-20

Gut wrenching

Talent yes. Great family, upbringing. Morals no. Sense none. A real downer.
Dead at 27.

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  • J.R. Yannelli
  • 25-02-20

Fabulous book!

U become very attached to Janis Joplin. Story flows and brings back memories of the 60s. I had no idea of her background and pains. Story is well written and well read. Absolutely a joy to listen to. My Joplin albums all sound different now.

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  • Tracy F.
  • 02-05-21

Sweet, passionate, destructive, and sad . .

This is one of the few biographies read by someone other than the subject that was done really well. Nina Ariana does a great job reading. When she’d put on a Texas drawl to sound like Janis, it really DID sound like her. It added to the story immensely. Janis was as smart as a whip, creative, kind, and had a set of balls on her! Her story was quite touching. But mostly, over and over again, it was heartbreaking.

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  • Jill M
  • 01-04-21

Fabulous story and narration

Thank you Holly and Nina! Highly recommend! I did not want the book to end...