Mary Wells, the woman who--in her own words--"helped build Motown" was to survive by playing gigs in small clubs, in hotels such as the Sheraton Airport Hotel at LAX, at San Quentin State Prison, and basically wherever people would offer her a few dollars to walk on stage. It's ironic that, as Benjaminson states, Wells was to pursue fortune, not fame, during her lifetime, but her horrible personal decisions left her with "no money to speak of."
Where Benjaminson gets it right is in providing readers with details about Wells' recording sessions at Motown (with the likes of Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye) and elsewhere. These details are what draw the interest of music fans. There are, however, some facts presented in this bio that may be open to question. For example, Benjaminson insists that Wells was hugely popular for several decades in Latino neighborhoods in California, and specifically in the greater Los Angeles area. This was not evident to this reviewer when I lived in L.A.
As with Mark Ribowsky's The Supremes: A Saga of Motown Dreams, Success, and Betrayal (2010), which was highly focused on the personal issues rather than the music of the three performers, this bio by Peter Benjaminson left me feeling that I knew little more about the late, great Mary Wells when I finished it than when I opened it. I suspect that one can discover more about her spirit, her soul, her character, by listening again to her records and her songs--a life's work.