Jagged Little Pill

Grand Central. Oct. 2020. 224p. ISBN 9781538736999. $40. MUSIC
This collector’s book about the musical adaptation of singer Morissette’s seminal 1995 album of the same name includes the libretto of the show, interspersed with essays and interviews with the cast and creative team about its journey to Broadway. As with many jukebox musicals, the plot by screenwriter Cody (Juno)—which follows the struggles of a seemingly perfect Connecticut family—is constructed around the songs, the lyrics of which don’t completely fit the story, creating a slightly awkward pairing. Vibrantly designed with compelling photographs that document both the stage show and life behind the scenes, the volume is meant to be flipped through rather than read cover to cover. Short explainers on the issues tackled in the musical—opioid addiction, LGBTQ identity, transracial adoption, sexual assault—may be an effort toward inclusion but feel like virtue signaling. Theatergoers who haven’t seen the show will be interested in the creation and production of the musical. Most notable are Morissette’s contributions, including footnotes in the script, about writing the now-classic songs, and readers will find themselves humming her hits.
VERDICT Ardent Morissette fans and Broadway buffs will enjoy this peek behind the curtain.
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