Synopses & Reviews
From the moment Joni Mitchell's career began with coffee-house bookings, serendipitous encounters with established stars, and a recording contract that gave her full creative control over her music the woman from the Canadian wheat fields has eluded industry cliches. When her peers were focused on feminism, Mitchell was plumbing the depths of her own human condition. When arena rock was king, she turned to jazz. When all others hailed Bob Dylan as a musical messiah, Mitchell saw a fraud burdened with halitosis. Unafraid to "write in her own blood," regardless of the cost, Mitchell has been vilified as a diva and embraced as a genius, but rarely has she been recognized as an artist and a thinker.
This new portrait of the reclusive icon examines how significant life events failed relationships, the surrender of her infant daughter, debilitating sickness have influenced her creative expression. Author Katherine Monk captures the rich legacy of her multifaceted subject in this offbeat account, weaving in personal reflections and astute cultural observations, and revealing the Mitchell who remains misunderstood.
"Canadian critic Monk (Weird Sex and Snowshoes: And Other Canadian Film Phenomena) presents a curious survey of Joni Mitchell's life and myth, lying somewhere between biography and music criticism. For the most part, the author makes a convincing case that certain pivotal moments in Mitchell's life and career are inseparable from, and essential to, a full understanding of corresponding moments in her vast and enigmatic output. This is exemplified in such passages as the extensive explanation of the effect Mitchell's childhood bout with polio had on the development of her singular guitar style. The anecdotal portions of the book are exceedingly well told, and most of the connections the author makes are cited substantially. In contrast, Monk often makes detours into Joni Mitchell mythology that, while clearly written from a place of affection and admiration, contrasts strangely with adjacent passages of a more factual nature, to disorienting effect. Readers expecting a straightforward biography, or those without a front-to-back familiarity with her catalogue may be further disoriented by Monk's tendency to arrange the narrative by topic, rather than strict chronology. With these caveats, however, the book is still essential for the Joni Mitchell superfan, and even people more casually acquainted with her work may enjoy what they learn. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"I devoured this bookthrilling, dimensional, thorough; a gift to any Joni Mitchell fan; an in-depth portrait of the life of an artist. It felt oddly like tracking my own genealogy, as Joni Mitchell, unbeknownst to her, raised me from a very early age."
Edie Falco, star of Nurse Jackie and The Sopranos
"The way that Monk writes freely about topics that arent directly linked to the plain facts of Mitchells biography... at first seems tangential, but it comes to be one of the best aspects of the book." Biographile.com
"Essential for the Joni Mitchell superfan, and even people more casually acquainted with her work may enjoy what they learn"Publishers Weekly
"Monk's [Joni] is the closest thing to essential reading.
This unique and thoughtful biography is recommended for all fans of Joni Mitchell.”Library Journal, Starred review
"[Monk] lifts the veil on her fellow countrywoman. Her account of Mitchell's dramatic rise to fame and countless love affairs, which inspired her songs, makes for a riveting read." Christian Science Monitor, Top Pick
"With clear-cutting language and an encyclopedic rock knowledge, Monk pursues the project with the laser-sharp focus of an anthropologist, digging for a more genuine portrait of the love-song-singing ingenue. ...an insightful read from cover to cover"Boxx Music Magazine
About the Author
is a national movie journalist for Postmedia News Service. Her journalism career includes stints as a movie critic, pop music critic, and news reporter. Her bestselling book on Canadian film, Weird Sex and Snowshoes
, was adapted to the screen by Omni Film in 2004. Joni Mitchell has been part of her life's soundtrack for as long as she can remember. She lives in Vancouver.
Table of Contents
one | Lady Looked Like a Dude: Impersonation and Identity 1
two | Facing Down the Grim Reaper: Illness and Survival 27
three | Baby Bumps: Expecting and Expectation 48
four | Woodstock: Myth and Mythmaking 88
five | Business and Bullshit 104
six | Gods and Monsters 136
seven | Love: The Big Production 193
eight | Im Okay, Youre OKeeff e 218
nine | Sing Shine Dance 232