You Are Not Alone Michael: Through A Brothers Eyes
By Jermaine Jackson
Publisher: Touchstone Books
Jermaine Jackson—older than Michael by four years—offers a keenly observed memoir tracing his brother’s life starting from their shared childhood and extending through the Jackson 5 years, Michael’s phenomenal solo career, his loves, his suffering, and his tragic end. It is a sophisticated, no-holds-barred examination of the man, aimed at fostering a true and final understanding of who he was, why he was, and what shaped him.
Jermaine knows the real Michael as only a brother can. In this raw, honest, and poignant account, he reveals Michael the private person, not Michael “the King of Pop.”
Jermaine doesn’t flinch from tackling the tough issues: the torrid press, the scandals, the allegations, the court cases, the internal politics, the ill-fated This Is It tour, and disturbing developments in the days leading up to Michael’s death. But where previous works have presented only thin versions of a media construct, he provides a rare glimpse into the complex heart, mind, and soul of a brilliant but sometimes troubled entertainer. As a witness to history on the inside, Jermaine is the only person qualified to deliver the real Michael and reveal what made him tick, his private opinions, and unseen emotions through the most headline-making episodes of his life.
Filled with keen insight, rich in anecdotes and behind-the-scenes detail, You Are Not Alone is the book for any true Michael Jackson fan and for anyone trying to make sense of the artist whose death was so premature. – Source, Amazon
Ten Things I Love About “You Are Not Alone Michael: Through A Brothers Eyes”
Even though this is a Ten Things I Love book review, I found so many more things I loved about this book than ten. Jermaine kept me engaged the entire time with his commitment to telling the story. I literally did not want to put it down. I laughed and I cried. I felt joy and I felt heartache. I empathized and I got angry. The way emotions were captured and conveyed throughout the book made me feel like I was right there in the room in every story he told, evoking from me the same emotions they were feeling in the moment, whether positive or negative.
Some of the things I loved about it:
1. I appreciated the stories Jermaine told about his family growing up because it gives the reader a glimpse into who the Jackson’s really are; where they came from, how hard they work, and the kind of values that were instilled in them at an early age. He illustrates their humble beginnings by telling stories like how they used hot potatoes as hand warmers when they walked to school because they didn’t have gloves.
2. I love the stories about the candy Michael would give away, because they demonstrate how giving to others less fortunate than him, was a trait he was born with. It also shows how from a very early age all he really wanted to do was make people happy. These types of stories in the book are important because they reveal that Michael’s true nature was to love.
3. Jermaine’s stories about the gang activity going on outside their home in Gary, Indiana and the things they encountered on the way to school, helped me see the perspective Joseph was coming from in raising his kids. Although I do not condone the beatings, I can see that his intent was to keep the negative influences of gangs and crime from breaking up his family.
4. I was inspired by the dedication Michael had to reach for the stars. Joseph’s strong belief in his kids and his determination to see them succeed was evident. I love the fact that he instilled in them a belief in their dreams, “Think it, See it, Believe it, Make it happen.” I will definitely be adopting that mantra.
5. I love that Jermaine helped people see how Michael was really just a kid at heart. Reading about some of the pranks he used to pull was hilarious and I couldn’t help but laugh when he told about how Bubbles would often get into trouble, throwing stuff around the room, causing Mrs. Jackson to shout, “Michael, get that monkey out of here!”
6. Jermaine also has some very keen insight into why Michael created Neverland in the way he did. He recalls every detail of the magic that Neverland once was; the zoo, the theme park, and the arcade. He remembers the fun times they used to have riding the bumper cars, engaging in water balloon fights and watching movies in the theater where Michael would throw popcorn at anyone in the front rows. It’s a story you can’t miss because you get to view Neverland through the eyes of Michael as a child.
7. I love that he addressed many of the rumors that have plagued Michael’s life for so long, like the changing of his skin color, sleeping in an oxygen chamber, and the allegations of child molestation. He gives some insight into the motives of those surrounding Michael that people outside of his fan base may not be aware of.
8. Many times throughout the book I found myself saying ‘wow’ as I learned more ways that Michael gave to others. Each one would leave me in awe. Like the time he signed all the sheets, towels and pillows in a hotel room in Mumbai and left a note to the staff telling them to sell everything and give the proceeds to charity.
9. I respect the fact that Jermaine was brave enough to tell the story behind his song, “Word to the Badd.” He was honest about how much it hurt Michael and took responsibility for what he had done. I could feel Michael’s hurt and Jermaine’s guilt while I was reading it, as well as their love for each other when they reconciled.
10. I love that the book was divided the into three sections; the beginning, the middle and the end, with seven chapters in each section. If you don’t know the significance of that, you have to read the book to find out!
There are many more things I loved about this book that I haven’t mentioned here such as the fact that Jermaine was left with a very special memory about how Michael’s boisterous laughter filled the room at a family outing the last time he saw him alive.
You Are Not Alone Michael is a loving tribute from one brother to another and it conveys so eloquently the person Michael really was at heart. If you want to know the truth about Michael Jackson, this is the book to read.
Jermaine has done Michael justice in a way that only a brother could. He wrote about how the song “My Brother’s Keeper” will always remind him of the Jackson 5 split, but with this book the song has taken on new meaning, because he has proven that he really is his brother’s keeper.