The vividness of the writing made it much easier to put Brown in context, to recognize that, even in the throes of addiction, hed had a life and was still trying to have one. As The Los Angeles Diaries shows clearly, this context can make the difference between a pretty good memoir and a great one. I thought this book would be a run-of-the-mill addiction memoir; instead it has left an indelible mark. 3/6/16: In addition to making me weep, this book made me think a lot about what makes some addiction memoirs more successful than others.
With Browns most recent memoir This River (which I read last week) still resonating in my mind, I found I could not put The Los Angeles Diaries down. What I loved about reading this book immediately after the This River was how much closer it brought me to his family, especially his brother Barry and sister Marilyn. As a reader, we dont just get to meet them (on the page), if the memoir is as stunning as either This River or The Los Angeles Diaries we fall in love with them.
Brown does it well and if you're not into this type of memoir, which not everyone is, I suggest you skip ahead and read the chapter:"Midair." It is stunning. He says look at that, look how fucked up it was, now on to the next chapter. Nor does the book's final chapter - it is un-satisfyingly vague.
Wow. Where did this book come from? Okay, so what does this have to do with James Brown's searing autobiography about his troubled family, substance abuse and life as a struggling writer in Los Angeles? A struggling writer from a seriously fucked up family comes of age in a sprawling Los Angeles landscape. It's not written with self pity or pride like the book I just finished - Jack Grisham's "American Demon" - which was frankly full of shit - totally filled with false pride. This book is real. James Brown truly came out of hell to tell his story. This book is like Led Zeppelin or The Rolling Stones or Van Gogh - it's an absolute... AS a native of Los Angeles, this book just splits you open and makes you reevaluate everything in your life, and spurs you to create. Thank you, James Brown for your courage.
Sentence one of every review of this book must include the phrase, "No, not that James Brown, lol!" So that's why I led with that; it's not like I had a choice. Without using any cheap tricks, Brown paints himself as a pretty likable guy, and you can occasionally find him hanging out on Goodreads. He may even read and like this review, and, shit, I may just go message him a link to it right now, which would be a cheap trick.
One of the topics that I could relate to that James Brown described in his book was breaking promises to people or having someone break a promise to you. I personally enjoyed this book because of the descriptive details and confessions that I could either relate to or just read about and try to understand. Overall, The Los Angeles Diaries was an admirable book because of the events that James Brown went through and how much the reader could relate to some of the situations and its descriptive details.
James Brown, the author of several novels including "Final Performance" and "Lucky Town," has mined his dysfunctional childhood many times for material. He relates the stories of his life with a detachment that leaves the reader unaffected by even some of the most horrific events.
This is a beautiful book and I read it start to finish on the plane from Burbank to New Orleans. I would've like to return to that thread more in the book.
What ended up coming out of this is that I have thoroughly enjoyed the book and read a little less than half of it in one day because the author has a real talent for drawing the reader really poetically into his story.