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DMS

Saturdays in Books

Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.

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The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent
Kathryn Morrow, James K. Morrow

Review: The Many Faces of Josaphine Baker

The Many Faces of Josephine Baker: Dancer, Singer, Activist, Spy (Women of Action) - Peggy Caravantes

What an interesting life, what an amazing woman. 

 

This book starts with a not from the author discussing the difficulty in researching certain aspects of Baker's life in part because of Baker's many contradictory versions of her early years. For a short book, this covers a lot of ground, occasionally cutting in a historical info drop for context. Written for the younger end of YA, the prose isn't anything to write home about, but with a subject as interesting as Josephine Baker, so what?

 

The book examines her larger than life stage presence, the manic ups and downs of her home life, and her efforts to promote integration. It neither shy's away from nor fetishizes her bisexuality.

 

My favorite anecdote in here is from when she was first living in France, taking Paris by storm. She heard Snake was fashionable, but being an animal lover, didn't realize the trend was snakeskin. She got a pet snake, and wore it as a necklace that would just sleep most of the time, but would wake up and stick its tongue out if she started dancing. 

 

I don't know that I'm entirely comfortable rating a biography, but I'll give that a try.