It's not often that self-help books by celebrities actually live up to expectations. True You by Janet Jackson does.
In her promotion of the book, Jackson stressed the fact that the book is not an autobiography. Reading it however it does sometimes feel like a confessional, at times she is heartbreakingly honest in a way I haven't seen most famous stars be, on paper or in interviews. She talks at length, and in detail about her early life growing up in America's most famous musical family, and how the stress of being a child-star on television in the 1970s and having to live up to her brother's fame became the root of self-esteem and weight issues. She comes across as open and honest in revealing how she battled to find herself only in the last few years, and coming to terms with her childhood and life so far.
Her weight-loss is detailed, but don't expect a step-by-step guide on how she lost 80lbs. Instead, she talks more about how her self-esteem issues with her body, and how she overcame that.
One of the nice touches of the book is hearing Janet open up about her 'big brother Mike'. She talks fondly of him and how they were best friends in the family from being very little, and you can clearly see how much she adores and loves him. She also talks about her family, especially her father. It's interesting to see that years after Michael discussed their father's beatings, Janet has decided to also. She describes when her father beat her as a very young child, which affected her and still does to this day. However, some sensitive issues are glossed over (''it isn't an autobiography'') which can be expected, an example being her second, secret marriage.
A really nice touch is the inspirational stories that are included throughout the writing. These are people's true stories of how they triumphed over issues similar to Janet's, and are quite touching.
Throughout the book also, rare and private images from Janet's personal collection are included.
The last quarter of the book is not written by Janet, but rather by her nutritionist who describes how he helped Janet to loose the 80lbs she had gained. His methods do sound uncoventional (for example, he says that he told Janet to stop exercising altogether at the start of her lifestyle change), but as evidenced in Janet herself, they clearly work. Also included are recipes for some of Janet's diet dishes, which are cute enough if you want to follow Janet's diet plan, but the majority of Janet Jackson fans who buy this book will probably not need to take a second look at these parts.
A startlingly truthful look at the life of a 20th Century Icon, in her own words.