Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins

The Inspiring True Story of the World's Worst Singer

Book - 2016 | First U.S. Edition.
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She was a woman with a dream. Nobody believed in her talent. But nothing could stop her. . .

This is the true story of
Now the basis of a major motion picture starring Academy Award--winning actress Meryl Streep

She had no pitch, no rhythm, and no tone. Still, Florence Foster Jenkins (Streep) became one of America's best-known sopranos. Born in 1868, Florence was a talented young pianist whose wealthy father refused to let her continue her musical studies in Europe. In retaliation, Florence eloped with Dr. Frank Jenkins, a man twice her age, and moved to New York. But when her father died and left her a large sum of money, Florence finally had a chance to pursue her one true passion: Singing. Butfirst she would have to learn how to become a great singer.

Years of lessons and a chance meeting with St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant), who would become her manager and common-law husband, would help launch Florence's career and entry into New York's prestigious classical musical societies, culminating in her giving a recital, at the age of seventy-six, at Carnegie Hall. This is story of a woman who was not afraid to recreate herself into the person she wished to become--and achieve her own version of the American Dream.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Griffin, 2016.
Edition: First U.S. Edition.
ISBN: 9781250115959
Branch Call Number: 782.1092 Jenki-M
Characteristics: 240 pages : illustrations (some colour) ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Rees, Jasper - Author


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Jan 25, 2017

The underlying story (Ms. Jenkins) is interesting but I would not recommend this book. The info is there but you need to wade through a huge amount of irrelevant material and you have to overlook the constant put-downs by the author about his subject.
Although it is clear that Ms. Jenkins wasn’t a good singer in her 70s’, it is also clear she had notable musical taste and skill earlier in her life. Rather than looking at the arc of her abilities, the author assumes (against the evidence) that she was laughable from an early age. She gave a ridiculously bad concert in her 70’s (an age when many people’s voice “goes”) but she was highly respected in the New York social scene for her musical taste for many decades before.
The constant slights got tedious. The author also falls into the history-writers trap of larding the paragraphs with irrelevant dates and information, often going into detail about passing individuals who do not reappear elsewhere. I finally couldn’t wade through anymore and put the book down unfinished, which is exceptional for me

The movie may do a far better job with this interesting story but don’t bother with the book unless you are researching the New York social clubs in the first ½ of the 20th century.
I would not recommend this book.

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