Never Drank the Kool-Aid: Essays

Toure, Author . Picador $15 (402p) ISBN 978-0-312-42578-4

In a varied collection of lucid, colorful pieces, journalist Touré, author of the novel Soul City and the story collection The Portable Promised Land , takes readers from the inner sanctum of Prince's Paisley Park to Jennifer Capriati's practice court, Lauryn Hill's Christmas party and beyond. Deftly organized by theme, the book comprises mainly magazine articles dating from 2005 to the mid-'90s, and its title refers to the author's insistence that he never bought into the philosophies of the people he profiled but rather aimed "to understand who they were beyond the image they want us to think they were." He succeeds with meteoric personalities, like Eminem and Al Sharpton, and with people like junior-tennis phenom and eventual professional bust Al Parker Jr. Touré has a knack for putting his subjects at ease, and he blends their intriguing candor with apt observations on the nature of their careers. He describes his own place in events without overshadowing the story itself. He's just interested in bringing us along for the ride, even if that means sitting shotgun while DMX pulls a full-speed 180 in a Cadillac Escalade on Sunset Boulevard. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/02/2006
Release date: 09/01/2000
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