Saturday, February 20, 2010

Urban Fiction - Feature Author's February - Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines

Title: Daddy Cool
Author: Donald Goines
Genre: Urban Fiction

I was first introduced to Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines books as a teenager. When I read the books based on their lives, I was shocked. The language was a true reflection of the life they lead. In my opinion, IceBerg Slim and Donald Goines were the original writers of the urban fiction genre, although that term came into existence much later. Their writings are very gritty and give readers a glimpse into the dark life of pimpdom and ghetto life.

It has been such a long time since I read either of these authors, but I wanted everyone to take a look back in time during African American History Month and read some true original urban fiction books that are a part of the African American culture and experience. If you have not read either of these authors, you are in for a shock. Many of the urban authors that write today glamorize the hood life, but these two authors show the darker side and leave nothing to the imagination.

Robert Goines, the African American writer who turned out 16 novels under his own name and his pseudonym, Al C. Clark, in his brief literary career, was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1937.

In 1952, Goines enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at the age of 17, lying about his age to enlist. During his three-year stint in U.S.A.F. blues, he became a heroin addict while stationed in Korea and Japan, a monkey on his back that clung to him when he rejoined civilian life in 1955.

Goines had first, while barred up and reduced to wearing prison stripes, tried his hand at writing westerns, but he was uninspired by the genre. However, he found his muse when he discovered the writings of the ultra-cool Iceberg Slim, the legendary pimp and raconteur. Iceberg Slim's works such as his seminal Pimp inspired Goines to write the semi-autobiographical Whoreson, a novel about a mack born to his trade as the son of a street-walker. Whoreson was brought out in 1972 by Slim's publisher, Holloway House, which specialized in African American works. It was his second published novel, after 1971's Dopefiend: The Story of a Black Junkie. Donald Goines and his wife were shot to death on October 21, 1974, under circumstances that remain a mystery. Some people believe they were killed in a drug deal that went wrong. (Retrieved 1/31/10, Shelfari.com)

Larry Jackson, better known as Daddy Cool, is a ruthlessly efficient black hit man, equally effective with a gun or a knife in nailing his prey. The only thing that can melt his icy heart is his love for his teenage daughter Janet. But when the smooth talking youngblood pimp Ronald lures her into his stable, Daddy Cool must go into action with a fearsome vengeance.

This story rips at the heart. There are so many conflicts that you will stay on edge just waiting to see what happens next. Janet's two half brothers are jealous of the love that her dad (their stepdad) has for her. After a heated argument with her dad, she runs away. She decides to live with her boyfriend, a known pimp. Of course, he decides that she must earn money, so he decides to prostitute her. It is at this point that all things begin to come to light.

Daddy Cool has just received information that the rape of a friend's young daughter was done by his two stepsons. What will he do? Does his avenge his friend's daughter or does he save his wife's two sons? During this time, he also discovers that the two stepsons have known all along where his daughter was and he is filled with even more rage.

Daddy Cool sets out on a journey to bring his daughter home, so he pays Janet's boyfriend/pimp, Ronald, a visit. Will he kill Ronald or has he met his match? This is the climax of the story and you will see just how far a man will go for the love of his daughter.

Have you read any of Donald Goines’ books? If so, let us know what you think of this author. Do you find his books to be more real than the urban fiction books of today and how do you think his writing inspired the writings of authors today?

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