edh's Reviews > Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing

Janis Joplin by Ann Angel
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's review
Feb 18, 2011

it was amazing
Read in February, 2011

Ann Angel's entirely accessible and compelling biography of Janis Joplin is a marvel of a book and well deserving of the 2011 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction. Joplin's story is interwoven with period details about life and popular culture of the 50s and 60s, including pictures and descriptions for readers to use as they compare Joplin to her contemporaries. This approach is excellently executed, and walks a perfect line-- offering enough information for comprehension while enticing the reader to seek further resources on the era. I was particularly impressed by the book's layout. The selection of pictures and incorporation of graphic elements moves the reader through the narrative in a seamless fashion. I was afraid that use of 60s design elements would make the book seem dated, but the choices of color and pattern stamping somehow manage to be both true to the era and a bit contemporary at the same time.

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.
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08/10/2016 marked as: read

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Alix Laing I agree! I felt like even though I didn't live through that time i still had enough information to gather what life must have been like, unlike how unrealistic it can be displayed these days. It's wonderful how she could show how Joplin had to go against the crowds until she finally found those who appreciated her. I was so inspired by this book

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