on 10 March 2015
Initially, I was unsure if this book shows Michael in a positive light, or a negative light. The title, "The Magic, the Madness" led me to believe that it is just another book that focuses on tabloid rumours, plastic surgery and scandal, painting Michael as the "wacko" everybody believes him to be. However, reviews from fans were praising, so I decided to give it a shot.
While reading, I still wasn't sure if the book is pro-Michael or anti-Michael. The book begins by describing a scene in which Michael seems a little bizarre. The scene was well-written, and had my interest - immediately Michael seemed fascinating to me, and I wanted to keep reading. The whole book is very well-written, and absolutely gripping. There is not a dull moment. But... how does it make Michael look?
It does not paint Michael out to be a saint, or an angel, by any means. Character flaws are laid out on the table, and, if this book is anything to go by, then Michael was a flawed person indeed. However, at the same time, I got a feeling that the author was very fond of Michael; the author describes many times when he sat down with Michael or spoke to him on the phone, over many decades. Simply, this is an honest look at Michael, the man. At times, I was surprised at Michael's actions. I was even, I admit, ever so slightly disappointed a few times. I think there is often an image of Michael among fans that is almost angelic, and this book shows that Michael was not even close to being angelic. That image is dangerous and sets Michael up for a fall, and will have some fans disappointed. This book shows that Michael was not saintlike, and not godlike. It shows you Michael Jackson - the human being.
Extremely thorough, the author goes into great detail about Michael's life, from his humble beginnings in Gary, Indiana, to his untimely death. It's a great look at Michael's psyche - if you're interested in Michael Jackson's psychology, this is definitely the book to read. I found myself trying to understand why Michael was the way he was. There are some fascinating stories in here, stories that will either offer you a possible cause for some of his eccentricities, or leave you even more confused about who he was.
So. At the end of the day, does this book prove that Michael was straight, or gay? Well, that's up to you. Much of this book is written in a way that has you wondering, parts seemingly contradicting other parts. There are stories that will leave readers questioning Michael's sexuality, wondering if maybe Michael was secretly gay, but suppressed it due to shame, or guilt because of his religious beliefs. But then, the book continues, and has you convinced that he was heterosexual. His relationship with Lisa Marie was depicted here as 100% genuine. This book will have you playing psychologist the whole way through.
What about his innocence? Again, parts of it are entirely up to you. The case of Jordie Chandler is an uncomfortable read. The author freely admits that he doesn't know if Michael was innocent of any wrongdoing in this case, because, from his honest perspective, it's a big question mark - one moment you think he's guilty, the next, a victim of extortion. I got the impression that the author also swung from one conclusion to the next, trapped in the mystery, unable to solve the puzzle. However, in the case of Gavin Arvizo, the author is absolutely convinced that Michael was innocent, set up by a family that was out for money, or perhaps revenge. The author truly seems to be on Michael's side throughout this book, sincerely fond of Michael as a person, hopeful for his innocence, and deeply sad about his passing.
If you are looking for one book that will delve deep into the life of Michael Jackson, this is the one. Full of fascinating information, stories you'll have never heard before, this book is a real must-read for any Michael fan, or anyone who's just interested in his life, his career, or his state of mind.
"What I like about my character (in The Wiz) is his confusion. He knows that he has problems, I guess you could call them. But he doesn't know why he has them or how he got that way. And he understands that he sees things differently from the way everyone else does, but he can't put his finger on why. He's not like other people. No one understands him. So he goes through his whole life with this, uh... confusion. Everybody thinks he's very special, but, really, he's very sad. He's so, so sad. Do you understand? Do you understand his sadness?"
- Michael Jackson