by Vernay Lewis
Book reviews are not usually what I use my creative juices to write, but every once in a while, it’s okay to make an exception from the norm. Before I begin, I should tell you that I go by, “The Number One Michael Jackson Fan in the State of Delaware”. Without giving you the details behind the title, just know that it’s true.
Having said that, when I first heard that You Are Not Alone Michael: Through a Brother’s Eyes” – that’s a mouthful! However, I was compelled to purchase it and even more surprising, I actually began reading it. was writing a book about his brother, I cringed. Like everyone else, I thought, “Is there anyone who loves him enough to not try to capitalize off of him?” Plus I thought the title was ridiculously long (lol): “
It ended up being a good decision on my part. The cute childhood stories of 2300 Jackson Street were heartfelt and fun, and often made me chuckle a bit. As the story shifts to the development of the Jackson Five, Jermaine credits the people who truly helped pave the way and clarifies some of the many myths surrounding that time period, including Michael’s claim that they once lived with Diana Ross. He goes on to contradict Michael a few times in the book, but it’s nothing major or unforgivable.
What I enjoyed most is that the book seemed to really show Michael’s true character – a giving soul who put all his energy into his craft and into the art of making the world happy – although he struggled to do the same for himself personally. I also came away from the book wondering if at times Michael purposely blocked Jermaine’s success or purposely excluded him from projects that Jermaine had initiated.
But remember, Jermaine wrote the book. That has to be taken into consideration since the other party is not here to defend himself. Despite that, what you clearly see is that regardless of what happened between the two at different parts of their lives, Jermaine was always there for Michael when it mattered most, as were the rest of the Jacksons.
When reading, you get a sense of a loving and caring family that understood the importance of sticking together. They didn’t see Michael as often as they liked, and I’m sure he had his personal reasons for that choice, but when they did spend time with him, they speak of his laughter, his silly mannerisms, his practical joking, and his true compassion for the human race.
Being the emotional basket-case that I am, I did find myself bursting into tears at various parts of the book, especially the ending. And I’ll admit, although I’ve never been a conspiracy theory type of gal, the last few weeks of Michael’s life, as chronicled by Jermaine, do make you wonder…..was it all a part of someone’s master plan?
But that’s neither here nor there. What the book did for me as someone who truly loves Michael Jackson with all my heart, is remind me of why I love him so much and what has been truly lost. That was worth it to me. Next on the list is “My Friend Michael”, by Frank Cascio, which I will begin reading tonight.
Followed by LaToya Jackson’s “Starting Over”. I choose to skip LaToya for now and read Frank’s book first to give myself an emotional break. The family’s point of view can be unbearably heartbreaking at times.
Overall, I think if you love Michael, you’ll love the book. Yes, you will think Jermaine gives himself a little too much “I was there for Michael” credit, but really, it’s an enjoyable, sometimes heartbreaking story.