Saturday, 13 October 2012

DIGITAL WORDS: "Michael Jackson: The Man in the Mirror" Review

Find the original review HERE


There is a flurry of exciting, new, sumptuous Michael Jackson titles hitting the market this month; from the separate style tomes of designer Michael Bush and fashion writer and stylist Stacey Appel, to the sensational 1993 ‘Was Michael Jackson Framed?’ GQ article by journalist Mary A. Fischer, published in its unedited form. All of which will be reviewed in due course, once I’ve had the chance to get my hands on them and my nose firmly into them that is. But for now I thought I would revisit a dusty, older title in my library that some Michael Jackson fans may not have previously heard about. ‘Michael Jackson: The Man in the Mirror’ by Todd Gold.
Published in 1989 this two-hundred pager both starts and ends by looking at Michael during, arguably, his most famous hour: the ‘Bad’ tour. What with the ‘Bad 25’ frenzy we’re all currently embroiled in, the attention this book pays to that particular period makes for welcome reading. However, this book is mostly dedicated to telling the MJ story in a linear fashion. As this book is credited as “the first informed account of his childhood, family life and early Motown days” the majority of it is indeed focused on the Gary, Indiana days which is actually rather frustrating when the blurb of the book makes so many tantalising promises about details of Michael’s adult solo career; such as the prospect of exploring the baffling relationships that comprised his private life, from Diana Ross, to his father and, most importantly, Michael’s relationship with himself. There are two particular areas of Michael’s life that Gold cannot leave alone throughout this book and continuously returns to. The first is Michael’s troublesome relationship with his entire family and looks at the constant pressure on him as both a child and adult to continually provide for others who should have been capable of looking after themselves. It’s sad but fascinating. The second is Gold’s theory of Michael suffering from anorexia. It is an idea that he puts forward more than once and goes to great lengths to justify his thoughts, but always makes it clear that this is speculation and nothing more. If you can get past the terribly unflattering image of Michael that has been used for the cover, this hardback is certainly worth a read.

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