Julie's Reviews > Janis: Her Life and Music

Janis by Holly George-Warren
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
5210022
's review

it was amazing
bookshelves: edelweiss-review, e-book, non-fiction, performance-arts, biography, history, 2019

A stunning portrait of the troubled, restless soul behind the big, brash, larger than life persona that was Janis Joplin-

Holly George-Warren is a seasoned music biographer, but this is the first book I’ve read of hers. Even with all her experience, the author chose to write about a person who was incredibly complex, conflicted, driven, unconventional and tormented. I would think that writing a biography over Janis would be a daunting task and more than a little intimidating. However, the author seemed meant for this task, and has managed to do what few biographers are able to achieve- capturing Janis’s spirit and essence, giving the reader an intimate look at the person behind the persona, stripping away the veneer that she notoriously hid behind, to get a raw, harrowing look at the real Janis Joplin.

By now you know that when I read a biography, I demand organization, and prefer a chronological format. We can go ahead and check those boxes and move on. The research is impeccable, and the cooperation the author received by those who were closest to Janis, included her surviving family, made the book feel very personal and authentic.



I have read one other book about Janis, way back in the late seventies or early eighties, which was shocking to me back then. I have not read any other biographies, although I have learned there are at least two that are reputable, one of which was written by Laura Joplin, Janis’s sister.

Remembering the naked pain I felt at times when hearing Janis sing, then learning that she did indeed experience some pretty rough times, and knowing she suffered from some kind of powerful, insatiable need for something she couldn’t quite get a grip on, I passed on reading other books about Janis, because I just didn’t know if I was up to the emotional drain her life story might have on me.

Yet, I found myself jumping at the chance to read and review this book and although Janis’ life is one defined by an inability to settle, a healthy self-destructive streak, and loads of angst and tragedy, I felt a real connection to time and place, and truly feel I have a much better understanding of Janis. Listening to Summertime and hearing that haunting, raspy voice again, still sends a shiver down my spine.

Janis’s live performances were so raw, she seemed to absorb the music, and through that expression, released an inner pain that was palpable. She was electrifying, and man, oh man, could she sing the blues!



One can’t argue with her incredible soul and the power she exhibited. She was so cool- a woman who was the star of the show, with an all male band. She was a trailblazer, savvy, and hardworking, and had a huge impact on music, influencing many rock stars, both male and female for many years to come.



But, turn off the stage persona and an entirely different side of Janis emerges, and despite her larger than life presence on the stage, this is the part of Janis that sticks with me. The private anguish, the conflicting parts of herself, the sacrifices she made for non-conformity, and the price she ultimately paid for the career she labored for, and her unconventionality. She died without the love and stability of a long-term healthy romantic relationship, without a family of her own, and without the full approval or acceptance from her parents, which she desperately craved. She died alone in a hotel room in October of 1970, from an accidental heroin overdose.

Biographies are often hit or miss, but folks, this is one of the good ones. The author worked on this book for four years and her respectfulness to Janis, her family, her friends, her music and her legacy is apparent. This book is sobering, and thought - provoking, and of course very sad.

I just wish Janis knew how much she was loved, and what an incredible legacy she left behind, and I hope that she is now enveloped by the peace and love she found so elusive in life…

147 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Janis.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

April 18, 2019 – Shelved (Hardcover Edition)
April 18, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read (Hardcover Edition)
August 18, 2019 – Shelved
August 18, 2019 – Shelved as: edelweiss-review
August 18, 2019 – Shelved as: e-book
August 18, 2019 – Shelved as: non-fiction
August 18, 2019 – Shelved as: performance-arts
August 18, 2019 – Shelved as: biography
August 18, 2019 – Shelved as: history
August 18, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
August 18, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019
September 28, 2019 – Started Reading
October 19, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 50 (50 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Mischenko (new) - added it

Mischenko Excited to read this. Hope you love it!


Julie Mischenko wrote: "Excited to read this. Hope you love it!"

Thank you, Mischenko!! So far it looks like it will be a very thoughtful and comprehensive bio. 💖


message 3: by Dita (new)

Dita Awesome!!


Julie Dita wrote: "Awesome!!"

Thank you, Dita!! 💖


message 5: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Outstanding review, Julie. I LOVE Janis Joplin.


message 6: by Ceecee (new)

Ceecee Wow. Amazing review Julie 🤗


message 7: by P.e. (new)

P.e. lolo looking forward to reading this book, great review!


Julie Carolyn wrote: "Outstanding review, Julie. I LOVE Janis Joplin."

Thank you, Carolyn!! You have GOT to read this. I've been revisiting her music and watching her old interviews with Dick Cavett. A dynamic performer, for sure. 🎵💖


Julie P.e. wrote: "looking forward to reading this book, great review!"

Thank you, P.e. This is a very well-written biography. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!💖


Julie Ceecee wrote: "Wow. Amazing review Julie 🤗"

Thank you, Ceecee!! 💖


message 11: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth What a wonderful review, Julie! Janis Joplin was so amazing and I wish she'd known what a powerhouse she was


message 12: by Paige (new)

Paige I'm with you on biographies. You never know what you're getting into. If it's going to be bias, or have some other motive. Glad this was a big win! Thanks for another great review, Julie!


Julie Paige wrote: "I'm with you on biographies. You never know what you're getting into. If it's going to be bias, or have some other motive. Glad this was a big win! Thanks for another great review, Julie!"

Thank you, Paige!! So many hastily thrown together cash grabs out there, too. This one is a rare exception. 💖


Julie Elizabeth wrote: "What a wonderful review, Julie! Janis Joplin was so amazing and I wish she'd known what a powerhouse she was"

Thank you, Elizabeth!! I do too!! 💖😊💖


message 15: by Tina (new)

Tina A super review on this great legend!! 🤩


message 16: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Lovely review Julie 💕🤗


message 17: by Karen (new)

Karen Macedo Good review Julie. Love Janis.


Julie Tina wrote: "A super review on this great legend!! 🤩"

Thank you so much, Tina!! 💖😊💖


Julie Karen wrote: "Good review Julie. Love Janis."

Thank you very much, Karen!! 💖😊💖


Julie Maureen wrote: "Lovely review Julie 💕🤗"

Thank you, dear Maureen!! 💖😊💖


message 21: by Paromjit (new)

Paromjit Also love Janis, Julie........marvellous review! 😘👌


Julie Paromjit wrote: "Also love Janis, Julie........marvellous review! 😘👌"

Thank you very much, Paromjit!! 💖😊💖


Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰ Awesome review, Julie! I can practically feel the love <3 Glad this was a winner, babe x


message 24: by Debbie (new) - added it

Debbie Didn’t know this book existed. Thanks to your heartfelt and fascinating review, I’m all in now! Watched her perform in the 70s out in the woods. Soooo amazing! (Ps, had a big birthday today. Love that you posted this review today!)


message 25: by Angela M (new)

Angela M Fantastic review, Julie.


Julie Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰ wrote: "Awesome review, Julie! I can practically feel the love <3 Glad this was a winner, babe x"

Thank very much, dear Alex!! 💖😊💖


Julie Angela M wrote: "Fantastic review, Julie."

Thank you very much, Angela!! 💖😊💖


Julie Debbie wrote: "Didn’t know this book existed. Thanks to your heartfelt and fascinating review, I’m all in now! Watched her perform in the 70s out in the woods. Soooo amazing! (Ps, had a big birthday today. Love t..."

Thank you so much, dear Debbie!! I wish I'd had a chance to see Janis perform. 💖😊💖


message 29: by Kimber (new)

Kimber Silver Beautiful review, Julie! I love Joplin's music, and this book sounds like it did a wonderful job of showing who she really was. :-)


message 30: by Mary (new) - added it

Mary  Carrasco Wonderful review, Julie!


Julie Kimber wrote: "Beautiful review, Julie! I love Joplin's music, and this book sounds like it did a wonderful job of showing who she really was. :-)"

Thank you, Kimber!! One of the best biographies I've read. 💖


Julie Mary wrote: "Wonderful review, Julie!"

Thank you very much, Mary!!💖


message 33: by Michelle (new)

Michelle I love Janis and I love this review, Julie! 💙


message 35: by Kaceey (new)

Kaceey Fabulous review Julie!🤗💖


Julie Michelle wrote: "I love Janis and I love this review, Julie! 💙"

Thank you so much, Michelle!! This is a very good biography- one of the best I've read. 💖😊💖


Julie Kaceey wrote: "Fabulous review Julie!🤗💖"

Thank you, dear Kaceey!! 💖😊💖


Julie Brenda -Traveling Sister host of The Traveling Friends wrote: "Great review, Julie!"

Thank you very much, Brenda!! 💖😊💖


message 39: by Kat (new) - added it

Kat Valentine Fantabulous review Julie!!💋👍💝😉


Julie Kat wrote: "Fantabulous review Julie!!💋👍💝😉"

Thank you so much, Kat!! 💖😊💖


Karen Fantastic review Julie! I enjoyed this too!


Julie Karen wrote: "Fantastic review Julie! I enjoyed this too!"

Thank you, Karen!! This was one of the best biographies I 've read this year!💖


message 43: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Fantastic review Julie, I liked the pics/gifs you used for your review! :)


Julie Sandra wrote: "Fantastic review Julie, I liked the pics/gifs you used for your review! :)"

Thank you very much, Sandra!! 💖


message 45: by JanB (new)

JanB Such talent and, heartbreakingly, such a tortured soul she was. There’s no one quite like her. Fabulous review Julie!


Julie JanB wrote: "Such talent and, heartbreakingly, such a tortured soul she was. There’s no one quite like her. Fabulous review Julie!"

Thank you, Jan!! She was definitely one of a kind! 💖


message 47: by Victoria (new)

Victoria So fantastic, I've shared your review with my husband and he wants you to know you are adding too many to his reading list. 😉💗


Julie Victoria wrote: "So fantastic, I've shared your review with my husband and he wants you to know you are adding too many to his reading list. 😉💗"

Thank you, dear Victoria!! I hope your husband likes the book. This is one of the best biographies I've read this year!! 💖


*TUDOR^QUEEN* Exquisite review, Julie! 🙋🔰💖 Well done...glad you loved it! 🎤🎶


Julie *TUDOR^QUEEN* wrote: "Exquisite review, Julie! 🙋🔰💖 Well done...glad you loved it! 🎤🎶"

Thank you, TQ!! It's a difficult story, but one of the best bios I've read this year. 💖


back to top