Wednesday , May 22 2024
A stylistically flawed but moderately interesting autobiography of his life as an R 'n' B star and calling to the ministry.

Book Review: ‘Don’t Give up, You Can Make It If You Try, You Can Win’ by Joe Simon

Joe Simon used to be one of the great rhythm and blues artists of American pop music. He won a Grammy for his song “The Chokin’ Kind” and was nominated for a number of other awards. He garnered gold records and many loyal fans. Popular music moved him far from the days when, as a teenager, he lived in a chicken coop while trying to get his career started.

joesimonWhile popular music was good to Simon, he claims in the book that he never liked it, which is disappointing for a fan to read. It was a business decision aimed at providing a good life for himself and his family. In 1988, Simon stepped away from his career to become a preacher.

This book is a very quick read. It is most interesting when Simon is talking about his early days as a lazy boy who couldn’t pick cotton and as a young  performer who thought he was rich enough to buy a car the first time he made $25.

Stylistically, Simon writes the way he talks, although he probably does not refer to himself in the third person by his whole name as often in conversation as he does in this book. Unfortunately there are many grammatical errors. It is sometimes difficult to tell when quotations begin and end, for instance.

Also,since there are no dates in the book, it is often hard to tell when things are happening. For instance, at one point Simon begins talking about his wife but there is no mention in the book of when they got married. She is just suddenly a part of the story with no explanation.

There some amusing stories in the book and a few interesting anecdotes about people that Simon toured and performed alongside. However, toward the end Simon gets very heavy-handed with his gospel message and things slow to a crawl at that point.

Overall, this is a book that would benefit from some serious editorial oversight. As it is, it is flawed but still interesting enough to take a look at if you are a fan of American pop music history, especially since you can read the whole book in an hour or two.

About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, Southern Crossroads: Georgia Bluesand Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.

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