Reckless Daughter

Reckless Daughter

A Portrait of Joni Mitchell

Book - 2017
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"Joni Mitchell is a cultural touchstone for generations of Canadians. In her heyday she released ten experimental, challenging, and revealing albums; her lyrics captivated people with the beauty of their language and the rawness of their emotions, both deeply personal to Mitchell and universally relatable to her audience. In this intimate biography, composed of dozens of in-person interviews with Mitchell, David Yaffe reveals the backstory behind the famous songs from her youth on the Canadian prairie, her pre-vaccine bout with polio at age nine, and her early marriage and the child she gave up for adoption, up through the quintessential albums and love affairs, and all the way to the present, and shows us why Mitchell has so enthralled her listeners, her lovers, and her friends. Yaffe draws on interviews with childhood friends and the cast of famous characters (Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Leonard Cohen, David Crosby, and more) with whom she has crossed paths and influenced, as well as insightful analyses of her famous lyrics, their imagery and style, and what they say about the woman herself. The story of Mitchell and also of the fertile, exciting musical time of which she was an integral part, one that had a profound effect that can still be felt today on American music and the industry. David Yaffe is a professor of Humanities at Syracuse University, and is the author of Fascinating Rhythm: Reading Jazz in American Writing and Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario : HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, ©2017.
Edition: First Canadian edition.
ISBN: 9781443444811
Characteristics: xvi, 420 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations (some colour) ;,24 cm

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sheojuk
Apr 01, 2018

I'm not sure what book the other commenters were reading, but I found this to be the most disjointed, repetitive, confusing collection of anecdotal fragments and unfinished stories I have ever read. Joni is the ultimate snowflake- every encounter is a slight; her genius is never recognized; every relationship ends in acrimony. Situations are described up to the point of Joni declaring them "intolerable", at which point... they are dropped, and we move on to another song, another lover, another slight. Repeat. Repeat.

Joni Mitchell wrote some iconic songs. So did many other people. The book made me think many of the quotes had been taken from third-party sources, pasted on note cards, shuffled repeatedly, and published as a book. It is disappointing to read others finding this good journalism. I agree with the London Review of Books review that it is one endless gush, and nothing more. Portrait of a snowflake, by a flake.

t
talk2terih
Nov 24, 2017

It is more than rare to find a skilled biographer who is also a well-schooled musician, but in David Yaffe we have both. This is a serious work by a serious writer about a strong, complex, genius of an artist who made solid contributions to virtually every popular genre of music embraced in the second half of the 20th century. This bio is a dream for the serious musician, but is also eminently readable as the portrait of a fascinating and unique individual.

k
kneice
Nov 15, 2017

This is the Joni book I've been waiting for: a 3-D chronological telling from many interviews and from her colleagues, especially the jazz guys who worked with her. I am eager to read the second half and have it on hold. Got a great review in the Atlantic.

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