Those who can’t get enough of the details of Jackson’s death might relish this account, but those who prefer to appreciate...

READ REVIEW

83 MINUTES

THE DOCTOR, THE DAMAGE, AND THE SHOCKING DEATH OF MICHAEL JACKSON

A tabloid-style exploration of the death of Michael Jackson (1958-2009), particularly the role the singer’s personal physician may have played in his demise.

In their first book, screenwriter and director Richards and music manager Langthorne plod methodically and chronologically through Jackson’s life, pausing to zoom in on his final few days as well as the 83 minutes that passed between the time Jackson’s physician, Conrad Murray, allegedly discovered him unconscious and the time of his arrival at the hospital. The rehash of the singer’s life in the first half of the book treads familiar ground, dutifully recording how high Jackson’s records made it on the Billboard charts, detailing his intake of prescription painkillers, describing the lawsuits filed against the singer, and examining the minutiae of his contracts with his various producers. In the second half of the book, the authors rely heavily on court records from the trial of Murray on the charge of involuntary manslaughter, of which he was convicted. The picture that emerges of Jackson’s last days is sordid and depressing: Murray appears to have been incompetent and distracted, at best, while his patient comes across as “a frail, deeply insecure, vulnerable, unfit, 50-year-old with a chronic addiction to a wide variety of prescription medicines.” The authors raise the question of whether his producers at the time, AEG Live, may have somehow been involved in his death, but they back away from making any firm conclusions. The book’s bibliography is heavy on websites, and the extensive notes often contain material that could have been more gracefully added to the text. While the epigraphs from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan that head each chapter suggest that the authors may have intended a psychological analysis of their subject, their emphasis is strictly on the facts.

Those who can’t get enough of the details of Jackson’s death might relish this account, but those who prefer to appreciate his music should look elsewhere.

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-10892-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

more