According to legend, Edith was born atop a policeman’s cloak on the pavement in front of a slum building in one of the poorest sections of Paris. Her mother abandoned her and her father was a soldier in the French army fighting in the trenches of World War One. She spent her younger years in a brothel in Normandy where her paternal grandmother was the resident madam.
Her early teen years were spent with her father, a circus acrobat, living in a carnival caravan and touring France. She separated from her father and began singing for coins on the streets of Paris until she was discovered by a homosexual cabaret owner who made her famous.
After watching La Vie en Rose a few years back I became fascinated with Edith Piaf. I have an obsessive love of France and loving the singer who is iconic and synonymous with the country just seems sensible.
In Tom Teller’s potted history of Piaf’s life, Teller breaks down her life to the highlights. He tells you a very basic story and doesn’t go into a lot of detail but he does whet the whistle to find out even more. Some people may think that his book Edith Piaf – The Little Sparrow is sparse on details (it is) but it gives you the desire to find out more.
Edith Piaf – The Little Sparrow by Tom Teller is available now.