Friday, August 15, 2014

#BookReview: Glow: The Autobiography of Rick James - David Ritz

Rick James sure did think highly of himself. I know I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know, especially if you saw him strut across a stage in the 80s, but wow. From his belief that he musically influenced Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye to his strange one-sided feud with Prince, who he thought was copying his style and stealing his ideas, it’s apparent that cocaine really is a hell of a drug.

His life story, told in conversation with a jailhouse preacher, is somewhat reminiscent of Malcolm Little’s conversations that ended with his conversion to Malcolm X. There was never any doubt that Rick James was going to be anything but Rick James. Even as his listener tries to guide him on the correct path and make him question his life up until that point, James has little regret and takes little responsibility for his action.

Coming from humble beginnings in Buffalo, New York as the son of a number’s runner, I just had to keep wondering, where did that huge ego come from? More than that, where did his complete disregard for women come from? I will say that I learned a few things about Rick that I’d never known. Living a Forest Gump-like existence, he seems to have rubbed shoulders early on with a number of musicians that would go on to have huge careers. It’s hard to imagine the Rick James of Superfreak fame hanging with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

That he refers to all women, with the exception of his mother and sisters, as bitches comes as no surprise, but it’s no less stinging to read it repeatedly. If you thought his degradation of women was all part of an act, reading Glow leaves no doubt that he had quite a distorted view of love and how women should be treated. I was never a big fan of him or his music and this book did little to change that, but it certainly offered an interesting glimpse into his life.

Published: July 2014
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.

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