So much for Dreamgirls' happy ending. And so much for the musical's tender treatment of Diana Ross, who definitely comes across as a heavy in these pages. Still, the author grudgingly acknowledges Ross's tremendous drive and ambition. And, from a purely business point of view, there is nothing in this book (or anywhere else, for that matter) to suggest that Berry Gordy placed his bet on the wrong horse.
Is there a grace note to Florence Ballard's sad story? Perhaps. The music she recorded with the Supremes served as a kind of soundtrack for the adolescent yearnings and melodramas of the boomer generation. The music is still very much with us. And while that doesn't negate the fact that Ballard was supremely unlucky in life, it does suggest that, at least in death, she won't be forgotten.
Evelyn Renold is an editor and writer who lives in New York City.
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