Just as Rita Lee’s autobiography, released in 2016, came to give her version of facts from her own life that for years have been told in various ways, and which remain freely on the air to be retold many times, the book that the rocker wrote during the days of living with cancer was the way she found to also give her vision on, one can imagine, some of the most difficult days of these 75 years since she came out of the womb of Romilda Padula Jones, on the eve of new year carved between 1947 and 1948.
It’s hard to imagine that there isn’t pain and drama in its pages, in addition to the inevitable dismay of anyone who discovers that Rita Lee is also flesh and blood. Yes, the hard part is there, but so is Rita’s latest transgression, according to those who had access to the unfinished content of the book: the mockery of what was supposed to haunt and the self-debauchery of someone who – will it be? – should be crying.
There was a lot of agility at Editora Globo so that Rita’s text, started in 2021, after the news that the lung discomfort she felt in those angry times of covid-19 had to do with the existence of tumors in her lung, became a book. As Estadão reported at the time, Rita started taking notes already thinking about using them for a publication.
Life, then, began to define its script. A year after the first emotional cataclysm, with the identification of the tumor that led her to undergo 30 sessions of radiotherapy and more of chemotherapy, the family experienced an island of relief. Tests ordered by the Albert Einstein Hospital team showed that the tumors had disappeared from the lung. A complete remission. Fans celebrated, the family sighed and Beto Lee, one of the couple’s children, celebrated on Instagram: “My mother’s healing moved me to death…. Best news ever.”
But Rita, her family and doctors followed, and continue, under surveillance, and some signs that the disease could have migrated in her body led her to be hospitalized for follow-up and more tests at the Einstein, on February 25th. What the tests showed is something that only concerns the family, the doctors and Rita Lee. Perhaps Rita herself talks about the subject, in her own way, in the pages of the book. Maybe not. But scientific results and divine judgments will no longer matter so much. Rita’s word in the text, as in the songs, overlaps her own existence with an immortal force that will make her present even when she is completely invisible.
Upon delivering the originals, Rita asked that the book be released on May 22, the day of Santa Rita de Cássia. If the name of the first one was Uma Biografia, this one will be called Rita Lee: Outra Biografia, and it is already in pre-sale and is the first placed in the giant Amazon.
The singer’s only words so far about the release were written in a post made on the day of the book’s official announcement: “When I decided to write Rita Lee: A Biography, in 2016, the book marked, in a way, a farewell to the persona ritalee , the one on stage, since I had retired from shows. I thought that nothing so noteworthy could ever happen in my stupid life. But it’s that old story: while we make plans and think we know something, God gives a sarcastic chuckle.”
The point is that Rita responds to God with another. From a little more that is known about the new book, and it is good to align expectations, there is nothing about didacticism, self-help, resilience, empathy pacts, exoteric conversions, spiritual promises, vegan primers or pre-plane crash confessions. Rita does not abandon herself even in extreme situations, those that put the coherence of the life we lead to the test.
In addition to the book, Rita took great pleasure in composing and recording with her husband, guitarist and pianist, a song for a collective album that will honor Elza Soares. The creation took place shortly before Elza’s death, in January 2022, when the rocker was still living under the first diagnosis. The song is called Queen Africana, and it’s not rock and roll.
Furthermore, she remains silent and says no to interview requests, on the grounds that everything she has to say has already been said, not in one, but in – and this is the only case of an artist in the world who has – two autobiographies.