JONI - Katherine Monk

The creative odyssey of Joni Mitchell

by Katherine Monk


A Book Review

Roberta Joan Anderson a Canadian, born November 7, 1943.  From childhood, a special child.

I was never a big fan of Joni Mitchell.

Growing up  she wanted to play boys games, cowboys.  A real tom-boy. Always wanted to be the star performer, the male lead and was always denied by the boys who told her she could only be Dale Evans.  And that Dale stayed home and cooked.  She wouldn't play.  Her father preferring he had a boy, taught her boy things, she never trusted women.

Not that she was a lesbian.  No.  She became the ideal image of a woman.  The new found freedom that was budding during the hippy era, along with black lib and gay lib. A new kind of woman was emerging.  It was time for the women's liberation movement, and the new drug culture that ensued.

She became pregnant and gave the baby up at birth, for adoption.  To be reunited later in her life, Kelly Dale. 

Later, she took her name from a man in a brief marriage.  Chuck Mitchell. She became pregnant again with her second husband Larry Klein but she miscarried. 

She impersonated a black man at a party once in rebellion.  An identity crisis.  She felt like a white woman in a black mans body. Entirely incorrect for a white person at the time to impersonate a black man. Releasing her creative and artistic style.

Her weird relationships with Neil Young and Polio, Carl Jung and philosophy, Nietzsche, UFO's.  
Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty became her drinking buddies.  They dated.  The LA scene. Bob Dylan, her love hate relationship with Leonard Cohen.

Meeting David Crosby, from the defunct Byrd's, 
David Crosby
who discovered her raw talent, and became her producer.  Molding her into the success she became. Luckily, she held full control over all her artisitic endeavours.  

She was slightly off key in her music which caused tension amongst other band members.  She invented a music language all her own, inverting the natural order of the scale with over fifty different toning schemes. Emotionally stimulating.   

I'm lost on that subject but maybe, this was the reason that I had a distaste for her music from the very beginning, who knows?  

Woodstock the festival, that she never attended, or wasn't allowed to attend and the famous song she wrote about it.

After she leaves Hollywood and the Laurel Canyon she builds a house on British Columbia's, life altering sunshine coast where she says "She got back to the garden."

Katherine Monk has an easy to read style.  She kept me interested from page one to the last page.  Her loves, her marriages, the promiscuousness, the inner control freak.  

Who would have thought Joni had such depth and would be this interesting?  I loved this book.  I'd give it two thumbs up.  I've got to check out other books about her on

Great Read.

Dog Brindle

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