This book simply consists of interviews with a lot of people who were close to Billie Holiday. The interviews are edited with sympathy and enough to make them coherent, which is all that is needed. The author adds little or no comment, and none is needed, draw your own conclusions. But as well as giving a vivid picture of a great singer it also gives a picture of the world she lived in, and interesting vignettes of other characters like Lester Young, Ben Webster and many others.
on 5 October 2014
Julia Blackburn has choosen the right path to describe and make sense of the life of Billie Holiday.
In the end I had the idea that I know Billie so much better then if I had read a traditional biography. By giving a voice to so many people who played a role in her life, I became one of her compagnons.
At the same time the book is a wonderful evocation of the black experience in the first half of the twentieth century in the USA.
The last chapter moved me deeply, excactly because of the calm style in which the book is written.