Florence Foster Jenkins: The Life of the World’s Worst Opera Singer
These days, it’s terribly (horrifically) common for someone who is bad at things to be famous. But at the turn of the century, it took quite a bit more for someone of dubious talents to rise to stardom. Florence Foster Jenkins was one of the few to do so, becoming a viral sensation in New York City, known for her horrendous singing for for being seemingly oblivious to its horrendousness.
Florence Foster Jenkins is the biography of an American rarity, detailing Florence’s unlikely journey to Carnegie Hall, the cartoonishly horrible reviews of her singing, and the strange enabling culture that built up around her for years, only to fail her at the apex of her fame.
I went into this book expecting a silly romp, a fun look at one woman’s curious rise to fame based on confidence and charm rather than any actual talent. But instead, I found a tragic figure, one who pursued her dreams with gusto, one who was nurtured by a select few, then torn to shreds by an unforgiving public. (No doubt the same idiots who watch American Idol for the misguided auditioners who’ll soon be brutally humbled.)
This book helped remind me that those laughingstocks are people, and they deserve better.
|Darryl W. Bullock
|The Overlook Press
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