Mike Doughty first came to prominence as the leader of the band Soul Coughing, then did an abrupt sonic left turn, much to the surprise of his audience, transforming into a solo performer of stark, dusky, but strangely hopeful tunes. He battled addiction, gave up fame when his old band was at the height of its popularity, and drove thousands of miles, alone, across America, with just an acoustic guitar.
His candid, hilarious, self-lacerating memoir, The Book of Drugs - featuring cameos by Redman, Ani DiFranco, the late Jeff Buckley, and others - is the story of his band's rise and bitter collapse, the haunted and darkly comical life of addiction, and the perhaps even weirder world of recovery.
©2012 Mike Doughty (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll have never been deconstructed with such literary elegance and self-deprecating honesty. I was riveted by Mike's evolution, through relentless hard work, from a neophyte with great musical insights, to a master musician. Most of all, I felt Mike's spirit: his humility, courage and power, and his remarkable transformation from imminent self-destruction to prolific, spiritually transparent artist. This is a tremendously brave and rigorously honest book; funny, sad, jarring and achingly true. He had me from the first page." (Rosanne Cash, author of Composed)
"Hardly your typical rock star memoir. Doughty is brutally honest about life as an addict.... Bringing the writing skill that he has crafted to his underground poetry, magazine articles, and songs, Doughty conveys his message with both despair and humor.... A compelling look at one man's struggle to come to terms with the much-discussed connection between addiction and art." (Publishers Weekly )
"Doughty's life, as chronicled in these pages, is not so much a revelation for its narrative arc (kid makes the big time, starts in with the dope, the band breaks up, kid is redeemed), as it is for the astonishingly vital, energized, and natural voice contained in its pages, one which never once had a ghost writer presiding over it, likewise its acerbic and sometimes lacerating honesty." (Rick Moody)
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"I Got on an Emotional Rollercoaster w. M. Doughty"
You know how it feels to find out a person you've exalted is, well, only human? When you actually make their acquaintance, the air of mystery is dissolved and the unique, impossibly cool person you imagined is really kind of a jerk? I had that exact reaction listening to this book...
I consider myself equally a fan of Soul Coughing (I'm not supposed to say that, Doughty HATES it) and Doughty's solo work. I found both of them at roughly the same time, so I gave the music equal consideration and was not put off by the vast differences. Regardless, you do not have to be a fan of either to enjoy this book, which is a bunch of raw, exposed nerves I found impossible to put down. This biography is equal parts maddening frustration (repeated self-imposed torture at the hands of others & himself) and pure entertainment - I loved it.
Super glad Doughty decided to read it himself, because he reads in succinct defiant bursts, which really lends itself well to the overall experience.
So while I'll probably never make Doughty's real acquaintance, this was enough of a glimpse into his life for me to know we're not meant to be friends (I feel he hurts people's feelings too easily and I'm just a sensitive girl). I still admire his talent, intelligence, determination and ability to save his own life. Sad to find out about the horrific dysfunction of the band during its 7 year life (and sad to learn what a bunch of DBs the guys in the band were to each other), but most marriages end in divorce too... even though Soul Coughing never even had a honeymoon.
A great audio book, and probably an equally good conventional read. Doughty tells his fascinating story passionately and honestly. He has talent as a writer--the whole book is well written. If he writes a second, I'll read that one too.
"Great piece. Can't stop listening."
Like the band and never knew the back story. What a wild ride. Has a HST-esque feel. Great read.
"Starts great, Ends on another person"
I LOVED how this book began. The way he weaves information about his life as a child and now was great.
However, as the book goes on it becomes VERY repetitive on how he didn't remember things. I do think that's just the honest truth, that through these addictions he really doesn't remember things but listening to ''I can't remember'' a lot becomes frustrating after a while.
The part that really bothered me though was the very end, he doesn't end the book on himself. He talks about a girl he got to go to an addiction meeting. It ends on him saying she can start her life over. I understand the point of it, that he's passing on the torch but the book not ending about Mike Doughty, or having anything to do with him just kind of left things in the air. I felt like he took me on this journey with him and he just left me in the dust all the sudden.
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