Staff Review: "My Friend Michael" by Frank Cascio

Michael Jackson, while once known as the most famous pop star on the planet, was also quite possibly the most eccentric and mysterious one. He had a pet chimp named Bubbles; there were leaked tabloid photos of him sleeping in an oxygen chamber; his children were rarely seen in public without a mask or disguise; his own appearance was greatly distorted over the years from numerous plastic surgeries and skin lightening treatments; he did not want to go grow up, often choosing child companions over adult ones and even naming his California ranch after J.M. Barrie's fictionalized Neverland. The list of unusual behavior is almost too great to list.  But who was the real Michael Jackson?  

"My Friend Michael," a recently released biography, presents a unique glimpse into the late singer's personal life. Unlike many biographies on Jackson, "My Friend Michael" was written by Frank Cascio, a trusted friend and longtime employee of the singer.  Cascio, a one time assistant that eventually went on to become his manager, had a distinctive relationship with the singer, being first introduced to him at just five years of age. As a child Cascio toured with Jackson in various countries and knew both children who brought allegations of sexual abuse against the entertainer. While Cascio defends Jackson on many points - especially those concerning any form of sexual abuse--he does not deny that the singer had other problems and details Jackson's drug abuse on numerous occasions, citing the effects of his substance problem in both his personal and professional life. Cascio also provides insight on Jackson as a father, a topic that few have had enough information on to accurately comment.  

Those wishing to gain a rare glimpse of Michael Jackson as a person--albeit one with outlandish eccentricities and flaws--will want to be sure to check out this biography.

Those wishing to delve deeper into Jackson's music, may also wish to check out the "This is It" DVD, which includes video footage shot just days before his death.

--Connie D., Rock Road Branch
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