I have to admit that this is my favorite of the Janis biographies, and I have read them all. Like the singer herself, this book has had its share of mud slung at it over the years. It is a downtrodden and spat-upon book among the populace, unfairly so. Peggy Caserta, in my opinion, does not exploit Janis in this expose, but rather tells a story that brings Janis to life in so many creative and endearing ways that none of the other biographies ever accomplished.
Sure, there are certain outrageous, pulp fiction moments that could have only been written by a man, in this case Don Knapp. But the bulk of this tale reveals a tender and affectionate portrait of Janis, one painted with humor, frankness and entertaining detail. Peggy Caserta has been dismissed over the years as someone who was more of an acquaintance to Janis than a real lover and friend. How, then, did Peggy become the one person Janis wanted helicoptered to Woodstock to join her at the monumental occasion if she were merely an insignificant sidekick?
Peggy and Janis were lovers and addicts. This is the unvarnished truth of the matter. Hopefully Peggy will get her due someday with this under-appreciated book, and a publisher will come along to render it from the out-of-print status and bless us with a new edition, complete with an addendum to the story of Peggy herself, and how she has coped over the years with the invective that has been hurled at her for this book. She was not responsible for Janis's death. Janis was. Yet she has been cast as the villain by such biographers as Myra Friedman, whose overrated "Buried Alive" did more damage to Janis's memory than anything Peggy could have ever contemplated writing. And if you want to read an exploitive biography, try "Pearl, the Obsessions and Passions..." These are the writers who have trashed Janis, NOT Peggy.
Upon reading this very unique book, one can only wonder what Peggy is up to these days, and hope she is faring well.