Mike Doughty’s “The Book of Drugs” is a candid memoir by the former leader of Soul Coughing. While much of the book centers around Doughty’s descent into drug addiction, that is only part of the story.
For fans of Doughty’s former band, Soul Coughing, the book offers an interesting account of nasty band politics that may only be rivaled by the acrimonious split of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Of Soul Coughing Doughty writes, “There is a Soul Coughing fan reading this whose heart I have just broken, who picked up the memoir of the guy from a band he loves, and it turns out I hate what brought him to this book in the first place.”
That hatred of his former band mates permeates the book and Doughty almost convinces the reader that his time in Soul Coughing may have driven him to serious drug use. Whatever the case is, Doughty lets the reader draw their own conclusions, and instead of making excuses for his behavior, he allows the reader to draw their own conclusions.
The book, taken as a whole, is a collection of reflections that make for interesting reading. There are moments that are funny and others quite disturbing, but the writing is raw and emotional and features at least some events that most people can easily relate to in their own lives.
I read this book as a fan of rock biographies but was not that familiar with Soul Coughing or Mike Doughty, and I thought it was a great read.