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Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton (original 1998; edition 1999)
Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton by Diane Wood Middlebrook (1998)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0395957893, Paperback)Billy Tipton was a jazz performer who played in clubs throughout the Midwest for nearly 50 years. Tipton never made the big time as a musician and ended up working as a booking agent in Spokane, Washington. Only with Tipton's death in 1989 was it revealed that the five-times-married father to three boys was biologically female. Diane Wood Middlebrook's biography describes the transformation of Dorothy Tipton, a white Oklahoman who was not allowed to play jazz because she was a girl, into Billy Tipton, a male pianist and bandleader. The author traces the life of this itinerant jazz musician over several decades and through changing constructions of gender.
Middlebrook, whose biography of Anne Sexton was noted for its controversial use of tape recordings and notes made during the poet's psychiatric treatment, was approached by Kitty Tipton Oakes, one of Billy's former wives, to write this biography; she interviewed his/her friends, spouses, family members, and colleagues and found them to have different, yet universally sympathetic, readings of Tipton's gender. In addition to examining what gender is, Suits Me also asks to whom it belongs: the individual or the people who interact with the individual. --Rebecca Brown
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:11 -0400)
"Suits Me is the biography of a now notorious jazz musician named Billy Tipton, who grew up as Dorothy Tipton in Oklahoma City and Kansas City but lived as a man from the time she was nineteen until she died at age seventy-four. Billy Tipton's death in Spokane, Washington, made news all over the world, not because he was celebrated as a musician but because the scale of his deception - he had been "married" to five women and had reared several adopted children - and the scarcity of ready explanations endowed the skimpy available facts with the aura of myth." "But locked away in Billy's office closet lay files of clippings and photographs documenting the transformation of Billy from she to he, as well as a legacy of annotated comic routines, musical arrangements, and program notes. These revealed to Diane Wood Middlebrook how Billy scattered clues and riddles night after night about the drag she wore. These hints were so bold that they helped conceal Billy's secrets." "With brio and pathos, Suits Me tells the life story of this brilliant deceiver, who lived and loved in two skins, one of each sex."--BOOK JACKET.
(summary from another edition)
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