Billie Holiday: Wishing On The Moon
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Billie Holiday: Wishing On The Moon

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  107 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Certainly no singer has been more mythologized and more misunderstood than Billie Holiday, who helped to create much of the mystique herself with her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues. "Now, finally, we have a definitive biography," said Booklist of Donald Clarke's Billie Holiday, "by a deeply compassionate, respectful, and open-minded biographer [whose] portrait embrace...more
Paperback, 508 pages
Published June 20th 2002 by Da Capo Press (first published 1994)
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Kathleen Hagen
Wishing on the Moon: The Life and Times of Billie Holiday,by Donald Clark, Narrated by Anna Fields, produced by Blackstone Audio, downloaded from

This book was written in 1994 and recorded by Anna Fields in 1996, who is no longer alive, and whose narrations I still miss. It is very clear that this biography was written by a jazz buff and someone who knew Billie Holiday’s music intimately. In fact, if I had to say anything negative about this book, it is that we discussed and analyzed...more
Francesca Lenti
Jun 06, 2007 Francesca Lenti rated it 1 of 5 stars Recommends it for: nobody
Shelves: nonfiction
if you wanna know about her, just listen to her voice
the most useless and boring crap I haven't finished to read....
really... rubbish...
Loree Thomas

In the beginning of the story, Wishing on the moon the book focused on mainly the era itself, in Harlem, and what was socially accepted, through the segregation of the races. Through the beginning it spoke on how African Americans would not give into conformity, and in the era a extreme hatred towards the African American community this was rare, because of the battle of social and racial unjust. Billie Holiday was born in Baltimore, Maryland on April, 7, 1915, she was generally raised by her m...more
This book starts out a bit on the dry side - but just keep going. You will feel yourself disappear into Lady Day's shoes. This book is amazingly complete, as it builds on the work of another historian who captured oral histories from many people - often just in time.

There were many things I didn't know or that didn't occur to me about her life: She was raised by someone as damaged as herself, had no father, no education and no advantages. Her life was also extremely violent and she lived in cont...more
One of the problems I have with biography is that I want to know the real story. With a character like Billie Holiday, though, there is no "real" story, just several different people's version of the story. With that in mind, Clarke does an excellent job exhausting every conceivable source for information on the life of Lady Day. Especially helpful are a series of interviews done in the 1970s with numerous people who were important in her life. Clarke also exposes the inaccuracies and biases of...more
Having loved Billie Holiday's vocals for so many decades, I was curious to know something about her life outside of the largely fictionalized (by Lady) "Lady Sings the Blues." Lady, as she preferred to be known, was the product of some mighty interesting cultures; Harlem, drugs (ultimately a heroin addict) and alcohol, prostitution and bisexuality, and Hollywood and the music industry. Lady was very much the product of her own making in her penchant for knowingly choosing crummy men, each worse...more
Recently got turned on to the music of Lady Day, and really wanted to know more about the woman. I steered clear of her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues after discovering it was really a sugar-coated recounting of her life. "Wishing on the Moon" has all the details you could ever want to know-in fact, a bit too much detail for me. I give the author credit for gently dispelling some of the misinformation in Lady Day's book. Still slogging through it, although I admit I am skimming more than re...more
A decent biography, free of the mawkishness that often taints our image of Billie Holiday. Her life had more than its share of pain, but 'Lady Day' was tough, funny and a genius of a vocalist such as will never be seen again. You also have to understand that Billie came from a background of poverty, racism and sexual abuse, and her artistry defied all the odds. She was volatile and self-destructive, but also honest and warm-hearted. Lots of authentic material, gathered by oral historian Linda Ku...more
Anthea Mills
This book needs a good editor.

Billie Holiday lead a life full of drama, and this book contained many interesting insights into her amazing talent and difficult life. However, Billie's life was hidden between lengthy side tracks in this meandering book. In my opinion, the author needed to use notes or footnotes to move additional information from the main text and to reduce quotations from those that knew her to those that were relevant. I think that the obvious love of the author for the subject...more
I feel as if I have been through a marathon... I've always liked the way Billie Holiday sings and so was interested in knowing more about her life. This was about twice as much as I needed or wanted to know. However, it's well done and very thorough. She was a very gifted person who made a huge mess of her life in a variety of ways.
Keeping all of the names straight was a problem for me and found myself bogged down in a bit too much detail. I did find it wonderful that this book did not take the same old tired tragic route. She was a woman who did as she pleased, made no apologies for it and did not blame others for the things that happened in her life.
Next to Dorothy Dandridge, the story of Billie Holiday is painful yet liberating to read. I bought this book ages ago, read it and re-read it. Read in tandem with 'Lady Sings the Blues' for a fuller picture of the woman known as Lady Day
Karen Shanley
great read, tragic story about an extremely talented woman from very humble beginnings.
Jun 20, 2012 Brent rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: fans of Lady Day, jazz, or real good music
Recommended to Brent by: The Book Nook
Jeepers, I have to read this AGAIN... You do, too.
Elsie Klumpner
A wonderful biography of a complicated woman.
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