Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The book gods have cursed me...

I just started another book.  This one is actually a real book and not something I downloaded on the Kindle.  I mean, a company actually published this…  it's not self-published.  In fact, I'd had this book on my wish list for a few years and finally bought it when the price became reasonable.  At one point, it was priced at well over $100.  I bought my copy for about $17, which was still too much money.

Well, I'm probably about a third of the way into this book, The Kept Ones, by singer-songwriter Bunny DeBarge of the 80s group, DeBarge.  And folks, it's not a good book.  In fact, I would venture to guess that no one bothered to read the manuscript before it went to print.  The mistakes in this book go beyond the odd typo.  Bunny mixes up words like "cost" and "caused" and uses some odd idiomatic language that isn't grammatically correct.  It starts from the very first page and continues apace.  I'm really glad I didn't pay a whole lot of money for this book because I would have been even more disappointed than I am.

Bunny's story is interesting, but it reads like someone from the 'hood telling it to you.  Sometimes that technique can work, like if you're reading something historical or it's fiction.  But in a modern life story, it's not good.  On the other hand, I can at least say the way the book is written comes across as authentic.  I'm pretty sure Bunny wrote it with no help from anyone else.

Bunny DeBarge is from an enormous religious family from Michigan.  She's biracial and is very clear that being biracial was a huge problem for her and her brothers, since when they were born, interracial relationships were very much taboo.  Her father was very abusive and cheated on her mother, even as he repeatedly got her pregnant.  That man must have had one hell of a libido, because there were ten kids in Bunny's family and he had a couple of other kids on the side.  He also molested his daughter.  

DeBarge on Soul Train.  Bunny is the lone woman in the group.

A clip of DeBarge singing acapella…

I still have a ways to go, but so far, I think Bunny should have either hired an editor or stuck to music.  There is no question that she and her brothers are talented in that arena.

In other news, I got my electronic mixer working, so today I will be playing with it to see if I can make better recordings.  Will probably post some samples on Dungeonofthepast...


  1. What races are DeBarge's parents, as in which one was black, and is the ethnic background of the other parent specified? What was the religion?

    Would you rather read something authentic and poorly written, or vice versa? i'm not sure which I would prefer, but probably unauthentic and well-written if it's clearly labeled and if I'm reading for pleasure. If reading for informational or research purposes, I assume we'd all prefer authenticity.

    1. You raise a good question. Personally, I think anything that isn't authentic is poorly written, so if a book comes off as bullshit, I would think it's bad, too. Bunny's book has a lot of mechanical and usage errors, but the story itself rings true.

      Here's the thing, though. That book had an original price of about $20. What can you do with $20? Buy food, first aid supplies, a few gallons of gas, new pillowcases, a t-shirt? I usually pay less than $20 for most of the books I read these days unless I get something rare or in hardcover. For $20, I expect better writing.

      It takes a modicum of talent to write expressively. I think Bunny's writing is fairly expressive. It does not take talent to fix spelling, usage, and mechanical errors… it just takes attention to detail and the desire to put out a better product.

      I read last night that Bunny was invited to attend Interlochen, a very prestigious music school/camp in Michigan. Bunny spelled it Interlockin. She didn't go because she got tangled up with a guy, was smoking pot, and had dropped out of school. Knowing what a fine opportunity she gave up, I can't help but feel disappointed for her because she missed out. However, misspelling the name of the school tells me she wasn't all that interested anyway.

    2. Oh… and the DeBarges have a racial heritage that includes French, Cherokee Indian, and black. I would say they are "African-American", but I have issues with that term and refuse to use it if I can get away with it. Not all Africans are dark skinned or American.

      As to their religion, I believe they are Pentecostal.


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