cover image Smokey: Inside My Life

Smokey: Inside My Life

Smokey Robinson. McGraw-Hill Companies, $18.95 (289pp) ISBN 978-0-07-053209-0

Soul-music legend Smokey Robinson tells his story in this colorless and flawed autobiography. He is relatively candid about his extramarital affairs, cocaine addiction and eventual redemption at the hands of a faith healer, but jeopardizes his credibility to the reader by his uncritical acceptance of nearly everyone associated with his life. Motown founder Berry Gordy is an almost perfect human being, according to Robinson, as are Diana Ross, his ex-wife Claudette, his two mistresses and a variety of other friends and relatives. A powerful performer and a sensitive, intelligent songwriter, Robinson offers here only hints of his creative processes, but he does give readers a sense of the grueling pace of multi-city tours. Collaborator Ritz ( Divided Soul ) faithfully preserves Robinson's vigorous, streettalk narrative style yet falters badly in his stiff re-creations of dialogue. Photos not seen by PW. (Mar.)