Jazz Baby

Jazz Baby

by Beem Weeks


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While all Mississippi bakes in the scorching summer of 1925, a sudden orphanhood casts its icy shadow across Emily Ann Teegarten, a pretty young teen.

Taken in by an aunt bent on ridding herself of this unexpected burden, "Baby" Teegarten plots her escape using the only means at her disposal: a voice that makes church ladies cry and angels take notice. "I'm gonna sing jazz up to New York City," she brags to anybody who'll listen. 'Cept that Big Apple-well, it's an awful long way from that dry patch of earth she used to call home.

So when the smoky stages of New Orleans speakeasies give a whistle, offering all kinda shortcuts, Emily soon learns it's the whorehouses and drug joints promising to tickle more than just a young girl's fancy that can dim a spotlight . . . and knowing the wrong people can snuff it out.

Jazz Baby just wants to sing-not fight to stay alive.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781936442102
Publisher: The Fresh Ink Group, LLC
Publication date: 04/20/2012
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.51(d)

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Jazz Baby 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
D.L. Finn More than 1 year ago
I get excited when I come across a novel that completely draws me in. Mr. Weeks, wrote one of these books. It’s a historical fiction set in the roaring twenties, in Mississippi and New Orleans. It is told from young teenager Emily Ann’s perspective. Born into a poor family, Emily Ann (or Baby as she was called) had a dream of becoming a jazz singer. She would do anything to achieve this and unfortunately, others preyed on her stubborn- innocence. It was painful to read what she endured, while her lack of emotion seemed to be what got her through it. Many times, I found my motherly side thinking, "no please don’t do that", but this character was determined to do things her way. The story, through beautifully written words, shows the reader the darker side of prohibition, poverty, and poor parenting. I highly recommend this book.
Rebecca_C More than 1 year ago
The first thing I noticed about this book was the beautiful prose. It was easy to get caught up in the story that was so wonderfully written. Much of it is written in dialect, giving it an authentic feel, and varies the voices of the characters. It was done in such a way that it was easy to understand the dialog. The author does a nice job of creating a setting in the deep south during the roaring twenties. One one complaint is that Emily Ann at times does not react to her dire circumstances the way I would imagine a young girl to behave. Her father is murdered, she is raped, people she cares about are killed, and she herself lies close to death. Yet, her mind seems always focused on sex and not grief. In all, though, it is a splendid read, and you can't go wrong with this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful time piece of the early 20th century.  Beem Weeks did an outstanding job taking the reader through the journey of Emily Ann (Baby) Teegarten.  Baby's voice brings tears to the women in her church but she wants more.  She wants to sing Jazz.  Baby, a young white pre-pubescent girl does not fit the "Jazz Scene".  Baby's struggle to make it as a Jazz singer takes her through many troubling times and puts her into the grips of a Mississippi gangster.  This a wonderfully well-written journey.  I look forward to reading more from Beem Weeks in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently so effusively praised Beem Weeks’s Jazz Baby historical novel to a group of already-appreciating fans that several challenged me to list five simple reasons I keep it handy for occasional reference and reread. Okay, sure: 5) SETTING: The authenticity and vividness of Prohibition-era south from rural Mississippi to the Storyville underbelly of New Orleans is so true and fascinating that I’m grateful for the chance to experience so personally. The world of gangsters and speakeasies and flappers and hooch-mongers feels Disney-depicted in movies; it’s scary and dangerous and wondrous in Jazz Baby. 4) STORY: Coming of age? Check—but nowadays when burgeoning teens revel in declaring their most intimate personas through social media, Emily can’t help but step back and wonder, then dare venture into real situations that challenge her to overcome obstacles even as thriving yields to surviving. 3) THEME: Thirteen is too young to face losing everything and everybody, especially in an era with no societal support. It’s easy to armchair advise her—until the choices aren’t so easy, and we must admit she’ll need to figure out who she is before anything can make sense. Especially notable is the unflinching exploration of her budding sensuality, a daring exploration that nowadays might be celebrated, but which then and there might well get her killed. Emily’s story deftly pinpoints that elusive intersection between creative ambition and intimate indulgence, an algorithm that few of us so keenly observe, let alone understand. 2) CHARACTER: Weeks has created one of those rare characters who is elusive yet indelible. The more we understand her, the deeper we explore her complexities, the more we wonder and marvel. That her transition is accelerated by the whims of circumstance and fate makes it all the more exhilarating to ride with her. Several astute readers have cited comparisons, nearly all agreeing she is another Holden Caulfield or Huck Finn navigating an adult world where the youngster increasingly fails to fit. 1) VOICE: Ah, the narrative voice, the element that pushes Jazz Baby into my skybox list of best-bests: Emily narrates her own story in the first person, and we can hear her, a faceted-but-simple Mississippi girl who lets us intrude on her thoughts, not just speaking the way a girl of her station would, but showing us how she thinks. Her quirky diction and syntax, the wry observations, those heartfelt expressions of emotion—these render Emily so alive that she lingers in our thoughts well beyond the last page of her story. Not since the first-person narratives of Barbara Kingsolver have I so admired a writer finessing the voice of a youngster brave enough to speak her mind.
ChristophFischer More than 1 year ago
"Jazz Baby" by Beem Weeks is a very authentic feeling and atmospheric novel set in 1925 New Orleans. The dreams of a young white, talented Jazz singer, are slightly shattered by family tragedies and other obstacles in her way to fame. Story telling from a young voice often has the quality of honesty and rawness that befits the at times bleek or sad character of the book. Weeks captures the colourful and varied aspects of the place and time wonderfully, just as we would imagine it: A young girl's naive dreams of fame in New York and the famous Jazz clubs, the ongoing prohibition, latent or obvious racism, the Southern accent and the harsh, rough and seedy sides of the city and of those circles aspiring to become famous artists.  There is quite a lot of sex in the book - Jazz baby also works in a brothel and mixes with some drug users while growing up and pursuing her dream. I enjoyed reading the book and got through it very quickly. There were times when the authentic use of the accent felt maybe a bit too much for my European ears and I wanted the story to go on for a little longer. Technically and stylistically however the book is of high quality, well paced, plotted and told and with carefully and lovingly constructed characters that stayed with me long after I had finished the book. This is great novel from an author to watch. 4 1/2 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jazz Baby by Beem Weeks is, in a single word, brilliant. I read it from cover to cover in less than two days and I want more. The first person narrative of young Emily Ann Teegarten is a very real voice I can still hear weeks after reading her tale. The imagery is vivid, the characters well consrtucted, the story fully engrossing. Beem Weeks's style calls to mind mingled hints of Daniel Woodrell, Dorothy Allison, and a dirty Harper Lee. Dirty in a good sort of way. How is it this book isn't on a best sellers list? Seriously, how is it Oprah hasn't added it to her book club? Wake up, Miss Winfrey; you're missing out on a real treasure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic coming of age story. Beem Weeks has a wonderful way with words, breathing the breath of life into a very unforgettable point-of-view character. Emily Ann is as real as Scout Finch in that classic Southern style. Curiosities about life, sexuality and the grown-up world are what drive this young girl to places no thirteen year-old ought to go. But there's a strong sense of survival in "Baby" Teegarten that only pushes her forward, toward her goal to be a jazz singer. I could'nt put it down; I had to read it all over again once I'd finished. If you enjoy great literary fiction, this book is for you. Cheers to Beem Weeks; I eagerly await more from this amazing newcomer.