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Michael Jackson: The Magic, the Madness, the Whole Story Paperback – Unabridged, 4 Jun 2010
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The definitive biography of Michael Jackson, fully updated.
About the Author
J. Randy Taraborrelli is one of our most highly acclaimed biographers, and the author of thirteen books including the major bestsellers Madonna: An Intimate Biography, Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness, and Once Upon a Time: The Story of Princess Grace, Prince Rainier and their Family. His most recent biography is The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.
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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
This book covers absolutely every part of Michael's life from early childhood growing up in Indiana to his breakthrough with the Jackson 5, right up to the point of his seemingly fall into madness. The book explores the man behind the songs, it explores his life in showbiz under the early guidance of his father to the man who broke away from motown to become the biggest musician on the planet.
The writer J.Randy Taraborelli manages to keep the book as nuetral as could possibly be, never swaying to a side of support for Michael or the media, The writer who has interviewed Michael in the past looks at the earliest beginnings of Michael's life and then delves into the private life including the growing up issues and the effects of showbiz and fame on Michael due to this, including his appearance issues and the continued struggle with his insecurities.
There are a few bits within this book were you will feel empathy for Michael and there are others that will make you question his decisions.
Another nice little touch to the book was the images that it had inside of it.
All in all the book is a must read for any Michael Jackson fan and you will not be able to put it down as you follow the journey of his life from birth until 2004.
Taraborrelli really does explain the 'Magic' and the 'Madness ' that was part of Jackson's life, the roller coaster ride of success and the descent into the mad and vicious world of celebrity that was orchestrated ultimately by a press that was determined to destroy him. In truth, Jackson was also partly to blame for the interest in his personal life which was to eclipse his genius as a true artist. He initially fed the stories to the press and found it amusing that they (and the public) believed that he could be so excentric, and when he tried to put on the brakes, he found that he had no control. When the allegations of child abuse were thrown at him, a gullible public fed on stories from the tabloid press were only too eager to devour what was left of his career, his private life and his humanity.
I found this book thoroughly engaging and thought provoking.
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