Scars of Sweet Paradise: The Life and Times of Janis Joplin
Since Janis Joplin’s short, sad life has been the subject of at least five books since her death from a heroin overdose in 1970, any meaningful new overview requires a fresh perspective. Given Echol’s provocative books on feminism (”Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America”), she seems up to the task. Yet she runs through the same litany of sex, drugs, and rock & roll everyone else has without ever making Joplin’s world throb to life. The writing is routine and often cliched (Janis’ second band was reason enough for her to sing the blues”). Without any startling insight into the cultural history of the ’60s or, for that matter, the deeper reasons for Joplin’s drug habit, the real mystery is why Echols felt compelled to visit this subject at all.