PIAF: A Biography by Simone Bertaut

PIAF: A Biography

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Still warm from its inordinate success in France (265,000 copies) where Piaf had a celebritynotoriety never quite matched here, full of her consuming rage to live and love along with some of its more disorderly, destructive corollaries (one is reminded at times of Judy Garland -- she couldn't carry Piaf's shoes), her story is told here by her younger half-sister and companion. Piaf (""sparrow"") was illegitimately born on a cop's cape under a lamppost; she was also blind (cataracts) as a young child before one of those miracle cures at Lisieux; by the time she was barely out of her teens she was dragging a baby and her sister Simone (also illegitimate) on the streets, singing her way up from the boulevards and bistros with the help of two protectors, one of whom was murdered. Bertaut remembers well all the men (Piaf was never without one -- she had to be in love, she always was in love) and songs of her repertoire: Yves Montand whom she discovered; Aznavour; Marcel Cerdan, the boxer, perhaps the most important; on and on until her deathbed marriage. This was preceded by the four accidents -- one which put her on drugs -- the erosion by cancer, and the final ""suicide tour."" While she never really found that vie en rose, she lived passionately the legend she achieved. You can see her -- you can almost hear her again.

Pub Date: June 7th, 1972
Publisher: Harper & Row