A steamy, charged, partisan account, in a verse form that accommodates de Veaux's heavy emotional strokes, of a life that...

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DON'T EXPLAIN: A Song of Billie Holiday

A steamy, charged, partisan account, in a verse form that accommodates de Veaux's heavy emotional strokes, of a life that can support her jazzy flourishes and straining torrents. Fluently readable and more hard-hitting than a straight prose telling, de Veaux's distilled portrait of Billie Holiday as tormented genius-victim highlights her childhood scrubbing white people's white marble steps (at eight); her rape at ten, for which she was jailed for enticing her 40-year-old attacker; the indignities of touring with white bands; the glamour and lovers and money of good times; the commitment to singing ""her way"" which reminds us what that phrase once meant; and finally the losing fight against both the ""Chanting White Monkey"" (heroin) and the gray police faces (narcs) that pursued her everywhere and together did her in. No rarefied ""poetic"" treatment for a special audience, this is strong enough to sweep up poor readers as well.

Pub Date: April 23, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1980