In April I was approached by publishers representing Rodney King and offered the opportunity to read his new autobiographical book, The Riot Within. Today we learned that Rodney King has died of an apparent drowning. His book details a troubled life, but he had seemingly turned a very important corner. You will find my review of his book below.
The Riot Within, My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption by Rodney King is the poignant memoir of a troubled man. The 1992 LA riots are forever seared into our collective memories. It was hard to believe the city of dreams was dissolving before our eyes into a blistering nightmare. Now 20 years later we have the opportunity to hear from the man who did not strike the match, but the verdict in his case helped ignite the flame. King gives us insight into his own childhood that was full of loving relatives, but also punctuated by family dysfunction and parental violence. We watch a pivotal moment unfold as we see the first moment when King discovers he is different. His self definition goes from just being a playful boy to simply being a black boy. It is through these new lenses that King sees the world. He does not try to define himself as a hero, but he does admit he made mistakes, but nothing could have prepared him for that fateful day in 1991. We witness the riots up close and personal, and we hear what he was thinking as he watched his friends and neighbors express their pent up frustrations in this very detrimental way. As you read the book you feel as if you are witnessing an evolution of a troubled man. It will give the reader an opportunity to walk in King’s shoes and it is often an uncomfortable walk, but it is never boring. It is definitely worthy of a read.