Lee Anne's Reviews > Black and Blue: The Redd Foxx Story

Black and Blue by Michael Seth Starr
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's review
Jan 15, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: borrowed-not-bought
Read from January 15 to February 09, 2012

This book combines two of my favorite non-fiction genres: the celebrity biography and twentieth-century Black social history. As a child in the seventies, I was of course a big fan of Sanford and Son (I had a little crush on Lamont). As an adult Sirius/XM Satellite Radio subscriber, I have heard some of Redd Foxx's "dirty" stand-up routines. I remember his troubles in the late eighties, when the IRS raided his house, collecting clothing, jewelry, cars, and artwork to pay for back taxes. This book covers all of that and more.

As a life story, Redd Foxx's is pretty sad. Abandoned by his mother, or shuttled off to boarding schools or relatives as a child, Foxx grew up tough; he even ran around on the street with a pre-jail Malcolm X. Originally part of a musical act, he fell into comedy and became an underground success with his "party albums" before the TV show that brought him fame and fortune. The rest of the story is a depressing litany of money woes (Foxx was a soft touch, and handed thousands of dollars away to every guy or girl with a sob story), IRS problems, real and imagined slights (it's hard to tell if the TV producers/writers/executives are really underappreciating their star, or Foxx is hyper-sensitive, and always scamming for more), massive cocaine use, women, gambling, houses, and cars.

As a book, Black and Blue is far from perfect, too. Publisher Hal Leonard is known mostly for instructional music books, and their lack of expertise in biography publishing shows. The book is printed on a heavy, slick paper that you don't normally see in a book of this type; there are editorial errors (repetition of phrases, stories; grammar and spelling problems) sprinkled throughout. But if you're a fan of Redd Foxx, you will want to read this ultimately sad book.
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Reading Progress

02/06 page 175
08/05 marked as: read

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