DeRogatis...deftly illustrates Kelly’s alleged crimes against young girls, and does so while wielding facts with the mastery of a prosecutor. However, the facts are not the most alluring aspect of DeRogatis’ work. The appeal of this book is the emotion that winds between the evidence, binding facts and feelings the way tendons bind muscle to bone. We empathize with Kelly as we learn of his rise from adversity. We experience his alleged victims’ pain as they share their horrifying stories. We internalize the rage of a community that couldn’t protect its most vulnerable members. But for those of us who know Kelly’s music, this story is one that transforms us, much as it did DeRogatis ... Soulless does a marvelous job of giving voice to those who say they’ve lived this story.
If there is one thing that becomes abundantly clear after reading this deep investigation into R. Kelly’s horrific actions, it’s that it’s all too little, too late ... an infuriating, nauseating, and revelatory document of one man’s monstrous acts—and the society that allowed his monstrosity to go unchecked. If this book puts a spotlight on R. Kelly’s pathologies, it does so by condemning all the ways our systems of accountability have failed the girls of color who were under his sway ... often reads like a courtroom drama—except most courtroom dramas don’t let six years transpire between an indictment and the actual trial ... R. Kelly’s dirty secrets are revealed in this book, and so is the wide gap between true justice and the law ... Despite this bleak topography, there is something affirming about DeRogatis’ refusal to let the story go.
... a stunning account of harm done and dismissed ... while DeRogatis is uniquely qualified to lay out the case against R. Kelly in its entirety, he’s determined throughout the book to center the women and girls who have shared their stories with him ... Along with this need to do right by the survivors, DeRogatis takes seriously the responsibility of assigning blame where it is necessary, calling out the societal apathy and systemic failures that allowed R. Kelly to evade consequences for decades ... In the end, Soulless’s case against complicity is perhaps its most damning, as DeRogatis’ detailed account of the allegations against R. Kelly contains moments where R. Kelly might have been held accountable ... brings a good deal of new information to the table ... offers a wealth of important trial context for the many readers who are likely confounded as to how the R&B star was eventually acquitted ... there are other haunting themes that DeRogatis masterfully illuminates.