Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson, by Ian Halperin

I've put off writing this for as long as I could. But on this blog, I normally pride myself on posting about ALL the books I read, whether I thought they were good or not. Honestly though, I wish that I could have un-read this particular book...

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm pretty obsessed with the late Michael Jackson, which is why I try to reserve all the books about him I can from our library. His music is great, but what I really love is the person behind the music. He's my all time favorite hero. Or was. I'm not so sure anymore... this book has introduced some new thoughts and ideas into my head, thoughts I would gladly have gone without my entire life.

Before reading Unmasked, I'd had a vague knowledge that Michael had gotten into some court trouble, about molesting young boys or something, but I never believed that for a second. After his death I had seen so many of his music videos, interviews, and other footage of him on YouTube, so I thought I knew the real him. It just couldn't be in his nature to do something as wrong and disturbing as... doing that to kids. But this book gave me a big wake-up call, bringing to my attention all the details of these (to me) strange and mysterious stories.

I read about the 1993 scandal with Jordan Chandler (I absolutely hated his dad, the fake dentist. That guy was so evil and greedy!) and the 2003 one with Gavin Arvizo. It's simply unbelievable. Throughout learning about all the facts, I kept the idea that MJ was innocent, but if that's the case, then it's terrible how many people went to the tabloids and sold their lies for ginormous amounts of money. Even people who worked for Michael! And children! Michael always believed that children always told the truth, but these guys must have been forced by their parents to tell outrageous lies about their idol, just so they could be richer. It's almost enough to make you lose faith in humanity in general. ~,~ What was disgusting to me, especially, were the lies that were told using sodium amytal, a drug that is supposed to be a truth serum, but is actually proven to plant false memories that make people think they were abused by people.

I felt so sorry for Michael. But even if he was innocent on the sexual allegation counts, it was plain to see that he wasn't so innocent on other counts, such as getting addicted to drugs, and running into debt. It's just so sad, how he started to lose his touch, especially in the months leading up to This Is It. He got so sick, I don't know why he went ahead with it. Near the end, it actually seemed like he was suicidal, which is just so sad. He couldn't have possibly done 50 concerts, so he would rather have died than disappoint his fans.

In the beginning, the author, Ian Halperin, had been under the impression that Michael was guilty of the molesting charges, but by the end, with all the information he'd picked up, at least he saw that it wasn't all black and white. I've learned kind of the same thing. I will never believe that my hero, Michael Jackson, would do anything to hurt the children he loved, but he's not perfect. He made mistakes in his life too, being human, just like the rest of us. When I closed this book, I remember feeling a little... out of it. I thought I would never like Michael Jackson again! So much information in my head, I wish I had never learned any of it. Like they say, ignorance is bliss. I wish I was able to go back in time, to when my picture of Michael Jackson was untainted. But this cannot be so.

Happily, in the end, I am still one of Michael's biggest fans. His music is amazing; of that, there is plainly no doubt. And the inspiring values that he tried to instill in humanity... making peace in the world, working for a healthier planet, giving all that you've got, being more like a child, having real love... will never lose their strength or importance.

I hope those who read this will be able to give their thoughts on my latest read.

1 comment:

claudia barcelo said...

i really liked the book.. but when it came to the part of jordan chandler being molested by michael jackson i knew that couldnt be true cause i really love michael and i cant picture that!! and all of sudden i find out that i was right so u know wat? i dnt like it anymore!! WE R REALLY SORRY MICHAEL!! WE LOVE U!!! RIP =( STUPID KID!!