Lady Sings the Blues Essay - Masterplots II: Juvenile & Young Adult Biography Series Lady Sings the Blues Analysis

William Dufty, Eleanora Fagan

Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction Lady Sings the Blues Analysis

Although Lady Sings the Blues was not written specifically for a young adult audience, readers of this age group are drawn to the book for its subject matter and its candid approach. Holiday’s bravado is often tempered by a confessional tone, not unlike the confessional women poets who were to begin publishing shortly after her death. Her honesty is alarming as she describes the feelings associated with her drug addiction or her relationships with abusive men. She is at one in the situation and, because the book is written in the past tense, objective enough to question her behavior and to shed light on what she has done.

In her writing, Holiday attempts to demystify the world of a celebrity while maintaining her sense of gratitude for her fame. There is an urgency in her delivery of Lady Sings the Blues which suggests that she is staying close to the facts when she describes her escapades. She has little shame when admitting, for example, her days of prostitution. She also has the clarity to see her drug addiction as a sickness in an era where rehabilitation centers were not as accepted as they later would become. By seeing herself as an observer of her own actions, Holiday seems to reach a point of acceptance that allows her to be truthful. She is frank about the times that she or her records failed and gleefully makes note of her successes.

Holiday changed her name from Eleanora for her career, and she later earned the nicknames “Duchess” and “Lady Day.” She is not shy in describing the...

(The entire section is 630 words.)