The idea for this book is indeed an interesting one- To compile a bunch of essays on Michael Jackson by different authors, and to look beyond the music and the trashy headlines. Unfortunately, it falls way short. The blurb on the back of the book states that this is not a character assassination, but I'm struggling to recall more than a couple of essays that weren't just that. Check out that disturbing cover illustration too- something that my wife described as scary when she saw the book on the bedside table.
Also, and a huge problem with a book like this, is that the contributors seem to get a lot of facts wrong, and always end up doing the same thing, which is looking at MJ through a prism of sensationalist headlines.
The tone is sombre throughout, except for the woefully misjudged and embarrassingly unfunny essay by Chris Robert which stands out like a sore thumb for all the wrong reasons.
Some essays stand out and generally have something interesting and fresh to offer, like Ken Hollings' and Reid Kane's efforts. However most are written by stuffy old men it seems, all focusing on the same aspects of Jackson's life and unsurprisingly coming up with the same answers. Yes, he had too much plastic surgery and yes, he seems to have had problems with his ethnicity, but that's hardly news is it? What about the music? There's very little discussion of it here, other than to trash his later records.
So, a wasted opportunity all in all, I'm afraid. A shame, as I really thought that this was going to be a level-headed and interesting way to look at the subject from a fresh angle, and on that level it fails miserably.
Scan through it though, and there are things worth uncovering. I would say that a good half a dozen essays here are well written and thought-provoking. A shame that they couldn't all be like that.