I’m a terrible reviewer of books. I was interested in learning more about Michael Jackson after watching the documentary Leaving Neverland, and this is a very good place to start. It’s not a definitive book on the pop star, but it’s not meant to be, it’s more of an essay. It’s also not a puff piece, meant to sell records or tickets to shows. As it’s a short book, I will probably read it again.
This book was a good surprise for me. Very well and elegantly written, like a poem, insightful, psycologically wise, compelling like Michael dancing: elegant and sensual... Analitic and sensitive, made me feel compassion in a good way, loving him , heartfelt for his unacceptable passing. I'm still mourning...In a sea of "books about MJ", this is really provocative,a pleasure to read... Thank you, Margo for so brilliantly taking us though his life, like The Philladelphia Inquirer wrote:"calls for rumination, not scorn. Her jazzy style makes this book a literary entertainment of its own".
This Book is a disaster. I opened the book and read through the first pages, last pages, and found out a rudeness in its author. She didn't show a basic respect towards this music icon (let us not mention the other impression Michael left on this earth). There is no pre-word, no after-word about Michael and why she is writing about him. Instead she started with calling the first chapter FREAKS....
I feel hurt and I feel offended and think:"how can a so called well-educated person be so rude and ignorant? Sure she is entitled to have her opinion, and I don't have to like it. But before you talk about somebody, you owe that person the basic courtesy to talk about him first for its identity with some kindness. Especially when this person does have so many accomplishments the world has witnessed and he has touched millions of millions people's life with different ages, races, nationalities,....."
I was deeply woken by Michael's music and his ups and downs, especially his sufferings in the last decade of his life. Then I develop a strong affection towards him and want to really know him through his own music, words, and thoughts, as well as through the impression he left onto others. I have to say, I am a new fun who just know him in 2014. Then I started to buy his music and read anything I can find about him. This Book is a disaster. Don't buy it....Since I have been a loyal customer to Amazon, they gave me refund without asking me to send this book back. But I don't even want this book in my book collection. I think I will just burn it.
Normally I am a balanced person, but this author's attitude is too outrageous for me to accept.
‘On Michael Jackson’ by Margo Jefferson was a book I mostly read on a train. It was a particularly fitting place to read this book because its main subject matter is journeys. Journeys to and from times, places, and people. As my academic study of the artist, Michael Jackson deepens in light of my book of critical essays, ‘The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson: His Music, His Art and His Artistic Afterlife’, I have come to understand how impossible it is to write about Michael Jackson without taking sides.
Although written and published in 2006, three years before Jackson’s passing, Margo Jefferson comes to the artist with a slightly fresher and definitely more academic perspective. She comes to him through the prism of a viciously racist culture which birthed his fame, the light of childhood stardom which sexualises and commodifies children who never recover from their early fame.
Jefferson also contextualises Jackson within his family. No one’s family is perfect. Most could be characterised as dysfunctional in one way or another. It’s just a case of degrees. In truth, the Jacksons aren’t all that different from any other American family. Many parents smacked their children under the guise of discipline, pushed their children to succeed in a variety of fields. It is the magnifying glass of fame which highlights every flaw in order to create a distorted, sensational caricature of reality.
‘On Michael Jackson’’s greatest strength is that it is a real attempt to marry the natural history of Michael Jackson to his personas. ‘Freaks’ is a particularly poignant chapter, presenting Michael’s mistreatment as originating from a disturbing freak-show heritage at the heart of Americana. It was quite unavoidable – exacerbated by his skin condition, vitiligo and his own personal struggle with his appearance.
– Elizabeth Amisu, author of THE DANGEROUS PHILOSOPHIES OF MICHAEL JACKSON: HIS MUSIC, HIS PERSONA, AND HIS ARTISTIC AFTERLIFE and editor of THE JOURNAL OF MICHAEL JACKSON STUDIES.