It started with promise! – I love the tender way Mingus referred to his youthful self, his inner child: “my boy”, “baby”. My heart broke for the abuse he endured and I looked forward to seeing mature Mingus process it. Instead I encountered a man of ugly, paranoiac-narcissistic bravado. The book felt like a grossly egotistical, delusional mistreatment of his psychological wounds. I didn’t believe many of his stories and pitied him often.

I picked up the book in hope of reading about an experience complementary to James Baldwin’s; also assured by my love of memoirs and jazz. But this was disappointing.