A vexing and tedious memoir that offers only brief glimpses of the extraordinary creativity of the King of Pop.

MICHAEL AND ME

THE UNTOLD STORY OF MICHAEL JACKSON'S SECRET ROMANCE

Seven years after his death, Michael Jackson's secret girlfriend reveals their peculiar 20-year relationship.

First-time author Mangatal met her idol while working as a receptionist in Jackson's talent management office. From the beginning, their mutual attraction was obvious to her co-workers; it “was so strong it was impossible to ignore.” Shortly after their first kiss, she "just knew that Michael and I would soon be an official couple. In my mind, he was already my boyfriend." Despite his eccentricities—"every time it seemed he was acting normal and like a regular man—someone I could see myself having a real relationship with—he would revert back to this mask-wearing dude with a little boy by his side. It was difficult to understand”—her obsession remained. Mangatal details Jackson's work on his post-Thriller albums, his competitive nature and perfectionism, and his playful, pranksterish nature, which often came out on video sets. Unfortunately for her, she rebuffed several men and agency clients because "all of my thoughts and focus were totally consumed by one person—Michael." Unfortunately for readers, the author’s prose leaves much to be desired, with many passages seemingly pulled from an eighth-grader's diary—e.g., "Michael was like a drug I was addicted to”; "I am his forever”; and, regarding the child abuse allegations, "this beautiful, sweet soul couldn't harm a fly." The author seems to believe that their chemistry, her (limited) sexual experience with him, and his flirting with women on set definitely proves that Jackson was heterosexual. "Interacting with him,” writes Mangatal, “was sometimes like dealing with a 14-year-old boy—and it wasn’t an act. It was like he had stopped maturing emotionally the moment massive fame snatched away his childhood.”

A vexing and tedious memoir that offers only brief glimpses of the extraordinary creativity of the King of Pop.

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61373-617-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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