The daughter of legendary sportscaster George Michael recalls their fractious relationship.
On author Cindi Michael’s 16th birthday, her father, then the host of the popular sports highlights TV show The George Michael Sports Machine, wrote her: “No father in this world has ever had a better daughter bring him more pride than you bring me.” Yet by her first year in college, she says, he’d effectively disowned her, and, a few years before his death in 2009, he told her not to contact him “EVER,” accusing her of causing “more pain and heartache than I could tolerate.” As one of three children, she basked in her father’s love as a young girl, but that love, she writes, “had to be earned” due to her father’s perfectionist expectations. The difficulties accelerated, she says, after her parents separated in 1973, when she was 8; she recalls lamenting that she “hadn’t said enough bad things about my mother” during a custody hearing. When she later suggested family therapy, she says that her father responded, “Ain’t no way in hell I’m doing that.” The disowning appears to have been triggered, in part, by the author’s affair at 18 with the vice principal of her high school, an experience she says she might have avoided “If only I hadn’t been so starved for love.” In this memoir, Michael meticulously traces the agonizing course of a fractious relationship that still haunts her. There is, of course, no shortage of memoirs about benighted families, but the author, who says that she’s also estranged from her sister, is unflinching in her self-analysis in this remembrance: “Twenty years later, I am still trying to figure out if the strength of my love for them is a blessing or a curse,” she writes. Now a mother of two herself, she provides the insight that “the past—a difficult one anyway—can only be laid to rest when we have examined and understood it.” Burying the past, she says, “was my father’s greatest downfall.”
A remembrance that effectively captures the author’s emotional pain and her attempts to come to terms with it.