THE BLUEBIRD OF HAPPINESS: The Memoirs of Jan Peerce by Alan Levy

THE BLUEBIRD OF HAPPINESS: The Memoirs of Jan Peerce

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This Is Your Life, Jan Peerce: Jew and Tenor, courtesy of multiple cassettes, an out-from-the-shadows ghost, and transcribed testimony from wife (she has a lot to say), children, and friends. No-holds-barred and completeness are the watchwords here, with family crises--let me tell you about my operation--and professional feuds minutely examined, breasts beaten, and grudges nursed. It's enough to give candor a bad name. In Peerce's own version of how short, fat, self-conscious Pinky Perel-muth of Orchard Street got to be short, fat, splendid Don Ottavio of the Met, he consistently emerges as graceless, bellicose, pigheaded, self-righteous, and altogether not-a-very-nice-person. The inevitable Radio City and Rigoletto anecdotes turn up, with ecstatic audiences leaping to their feet at regular intervals, but Peerce-as-Jew is the dominant motif. Whether keeping kosher on the road, disowning a gentile-marrying son (regrets and reconciliation later), or roping ""G-d"" into almost any conversation, it's faith on parade, but the insistent religiosity somehow never manages to seem very spiritual. Sincere intentions, but fans of the Peerce legato should stick with their memories and leave The Bluebird to the sizable Fiddler on the Roof contingent.

Pub Date: Nov. 10th, 1976
Publisher: Harper & Row