October 17, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Jermaine Jackson's 'You are Not Alone' , Part 2

I'm completely positive that not only Jermaine wasn’t actively involved 
in the writing of this book but also he didn’t even bother proof reading. Instead, he directed it to be rushed to print so it could debut right before the Conrad Murray Trial, capitalizing from the media frenzy as free publicity. Jermaine Jackson has always had a knack for turning Michael Jackson’s lemons into his lemonade! 

Jermaine's ghost writer insisting that Jermaine read this book thoroughly

"Jermaine" wrote that he decided to write this book in January 2011. 
The book made its debut in September 2011. That is 8 months, y'all. In comparison, Michael Jackson’s autobiography took 4 years. But then again, quality was an important factor for Michael who didn't short-change his fans. Jermaine, on the other hand, isn’t big on quality. All he cares is about is the money he can make without having earned it. What does he care, it isn’t his fans, it is Michael’s fans! It isn’t his fault that MJ’s sucker fans are willing to pay anything with Michael Jackson name on it. Have a ghost writer plagiarize from various resources, affix your name as the author, put Michael on the cover and ka-ching!

Judge The Book By Its Cover

Michael Jackson autobiography, titled “Moonwalk” debuted in 1988. It was ghost-written by Stephen Davis and edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Michael was heavily involved. It took 4 years for the book to come to fruition. The music titan ever self conscious of over-exposing himself gives the readers just enough about his personal life while focusing primarily on his art. 

Janet Jackson autobiography, titled “True You” debuted in 2011. Notice that the cover is a picture of her—Janet is a esteemed artist in her own right. She doesn’t need Michael Jackson to boost her book sales. Janet shares her struggles with weigh loss and “depression” and reaches out to people who are going through the same struggles. She writes a book to use her celebrity to inspire people—not to exploit her little brother. Don’t turn to this book for gossip about Janet and the Jackson Family—especially Michael Jackson—there is none.

Latoya Jackson autobiography, titled “Starting Over” debuted in 2011. The cover portends its content—while Latoya does exploit her little brother, she has plenty to write about her own life. Latoya is on a crusade to lend her…ahem…celebrity…for spreading awareness about the abuse she claims she endured in the hands of her former husband. Lest we forget that her first autobiography titled “Growing up in the Jackson Family” carried the same mission—but then, she was commiserating about the abuse she endured in the hands of her father, Joe, only to rescind those claims in this book. Stay tuned for her third biography in which she’ll probably blame 
                                                       Jeffree Phillips for her failures.

Jermaine Jackson’s "autobiography" 
is titled “You Are Not Alone Michael”, debuted in 2011. Although the back cover classified it as an autobiography, this book all about Michael Jackson.

Jermaine is someone who just happened to grow up under the same roof as the musical genius Michael Jackson. And boy, did he milk that for what's worth. Michael and Jermaine didn't have a close brotherly bond. It’s safe to say that his knowledge of Michael is less than that of avid Michael Jackson fans.

You’d think that Jermaine would proof-read this book which was researched and written entirely by a ghost writer [Steve Dennis]—at least out of curiosity. But Jermaine didn't bother. End result is an "autobiography" replete with inaccuracies such as spellings of his mom & brother's names and even his own birthday. There were numerous small factual errors that, in totality, add up to confirm that this book is the product of Steve Dennis' poor research skills [of which fans of Britney Spears also complain on amazon about a book he wrote.]

Only if you haven’t read other books written about Michael Jackson, will you be impressed with Jermaine Jackson’s book, believing that it's authentic. I will give several examples of plagiarism but to list them all would be tedious. Almost everything—I’d impartially say that perhaps %94 of this book comes from other books, Michael Jackson interviews and Internet sources (articles, news, blogs, videos etc).

The following are some of my notes while reading Jermaine Jackson's book:


The inspirational note that Michael Jackson allegedly wrote on his bathroom mirror isn’t the same on above two pages.

Prologue xii “November 2003—when he was arrested and charged”

Michael Jackson was arrested without formal charges. Yes, upon Tom Sneddon announcing that there is a warrant for his arrest, Mr. Jackson turned himself in on November 20, 2003 but he wasn’t charged until December 18, 2003

“There is a warrant outstanding and I can assure you that within a very short period of time, there will be charges filed against Mr. Jackson” 
~Tom Sneddon, Nov 19, 2003

Prologue xii “Yesterday, March 9, Gavin Arvizo began his testimony…
I watch the local news on TV, looking ahead to the Day 11 of the trial.”

March 10, 2005 was Day 9 of the trial — not Day 11

Prologue xvi “There is not one shred of evidence to justify this trial. This irrefutable truth would be confirmed by an FBI statement in 2009, making it clear after my brother’s death that there was never any evidence to support any allegation in 16 years of investigation.”

When you regurgitate info from the media without fact-checking, you run into the caveat of repeating misinformation. The misinfo that was published by various media outlets was that Michael was monitored by FBI for 16 years.

FBI didn't monitor Mr. Jackson 16 years. FBI assisted the investigation by California law enforcement between 1993-1994 and 2004-2005.  That's 2 years in regards to the molestation allegations [not 16 yrs].
(FBI files on Michael Jackson)

FBI did investigate various death threats made against Michael Jackson between 1992 and 2005. These investigations were to HELP Michael Jackson [not to monitor him for child molestation charges]. 

Prologue xvii “He looks like a white man splashed with coffee. This is the skin condition – the vitiligo— that a cynical world says he doesn’t have, preferring to believe that he bleaches his skin.”

Says the man who wrote Word to the Badd [Michael Jackson diss] 
Once you were made
You changed your shade  
Was your color wrong?”

Later in the book on Page 164, Jermaine further inflames the “cynical world”. He starts his anecdote with this ridiculous disclaimer: 
“As I write this I am fully aware of this one fact – if taken out of context— is danger of fanning the myth that Michael bleached his skin.

Jermaine recounts that Michael used Nadinola before he was ever diagnosed with Vitiligo. During his teenage years, Michael had acne problems which troubled him a great deal. Jermaine explains that Michael used Nadinola to fade scar marks because “for black kids, squeezing and picking [on pimples] leaves a mark darker than the natural skin color.” Although the product is marketed as “skin discoloration fade cream”, Jermaine calls it “a skin bleaching cream.”

Jermaine also posted a half-page, glossed picture of Michael with acne. And he made sure that it is in black and white so the acne is more visible. How many pictures do you think Jermaine posted depicting Michael's golden, charitable heart?

When I see this picture, I see beauty but I know that Michael was sensitive about his acne - his feelings matter, yes, even after death. If Michael was my brother, I wouldn't go around highlighting a subject that I know he was sensitive about. This anecdote and the picture is the sensationalized garbage Michael talked about. This so-called tribute memoir reads like a tabloid garbage Michael warned us about.

His pimple-bursting ritual doesn’t add any value to a tribute memoir when the man left behind plenty of material to be documented for the new generations. Reading this silly anecdote, Michael’s words from his Oprah interview comes to mind:
“Do you know what’s so funny? Why is that so important? That’s not important to me. I’m a great fan of art. I love Michelangelo. If I get a chance to talk to him or read about him, I’d wanna know the anatomy of his craftsmanship — not about who he went out with last nite or why he decided to sit out in the sun so long, what’s wrong with him.”           ~ Michael Jackson

Prologue xviii “There is no way my brother is going to jail for this. 
He wouldn’t survive”

This is the same thing Jermaine was prepared to write in his book titled 'Legacy: Surviving the Best and the Worst’. Back then Jermaine intended to exploit his little brother by bashing him but since after Michael’s death, praising him became the fashionable and profitable thing to do, Jermaine dumped the disparaging remarks. But his belief that Michael wouldn’t survive prison remained in this book.

The following is an excerpt from Jermaine’s first book that didn’t see the daylight because Michael found out about it & put an end to it.
“My brother doesn’t always learn the valuable lessons life teaches. He is stubborn, hard-headed and, at times, harsh. He is cold, calculating and devious. The blood of his father runs freely through him. We were all afraid that the blood of Joseph Jackson would eventually contaminate all of us. But this is still my family and I love every one of them and I won’t sit by and let my brother go to prison. Prison would kill him. I’ve thought about doing the time for him, if he’s convicted. Michael wouldn’t survive in prison for one day. He’d commit suicide.”
Prologue xix “Lies run in sprints but the truth runs in marathons 
and the truth will win. The truest lyric he never sang.”
Page 376 “Lies run sprints but the truth runs marathons. The truth will run this marathon in court”.

Michael Jackson’s quote is used twice in this book—BOTH times different versions from each other and BOTH times inaccurately quoted. Also, the ghost writer erroneously wrote that it is a lyric — it isn’t. It is from the following statement, released on Nov 20, 2003
—the day Mr. Jackson turned himself in. 
Stuart Backerman, a spokesman for Michael Jackson, issued the following statement on behalf of the singer: 
The big lie against Michael Jackson is anchored in the most vicious allegation imaginable, one that resonates across every culture: the spectacle of harming a child. That spectacle invites outrage, and it should. But this spectacle is rooted in a lie.
Michael said "Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons. The truth will win this marathon in court." (source)

Page 8 “Neverland has been portrayed as the outlandish creation of 
‘a wild imagination’ with the suggestion that a love of Disney was its sole inspiration.”

As I mentioned in Part 1 of my review, the ghost writer’s use of quotation marks were rather confusing, considering that there wasn’t 
a single source-quote in this book. Unless you are an avid reader on Michael Jackson,  you can only wonder the source of a quote.

Randy Taraborrelli wrote: “Neverland Ranch was one of Michael Jackson’s greatest creations, the result of his imagination gone wild.” However he didn’t suggest that Disney was Michael’s inspiration. That came from Tom Mesereau who said “Neverland is not a haven for criminal activity as characterized by the prosecution. It's a Disneyland-like place for underprivileged and sick children to have a day of fun."

Page 12 “She was born Katie Scruse in May 1930”

She was born as Kattie Screws [named after her aunt.] After Martha—Kattie’s mom—got divorced, she changed Kattie’s name to Katherine Esther Scruse in 1934.

Page 12 “Her grandparents had been cotton farmers and her great-grandfather was a slave to an Alabama family called Scruse.”

The last name of the Alabama family who owned Katherine’s great-grandfather [Kendall Brown] was Screws—not Scruse. As mentioned above, Katherine mom changed Screws to Scruse in 1934 because it sounded similar but it was less suggestive.

Page 13 “When our parents met in 1949…”

Katherine and Joe met in 1948. The ghost writer unwittingly confirms this on Page 20 “On one date with Joseph as a 19 year old, they were at a dance floor at some party.” Joe was 19 year old in 1948.

Page 16 “My sister Rebbie came first, then Jackie (1951), Tito (1953),  me (1954), La Toya (1956), Marlon(1957), Michael(1958), Randy(1961) and Janet(1966)”

Katherine & Joe married in Nov 1949. Rebbie was born on May 1950. 
Do the math. They had to get married because Katherine was pregnant.

Page 17 “Whenever Mother was out and we brothers fought, we swore her [Latoya] into a pack. ‘Promise you won’t tell.’ ‘Promise’ she said convincingly. ‘I won’t tell.’ As soon as Mother was through the door, the promise was undone with a dramatic confession. ‘Mother, Jermaine’s been fighting.’ It didn’t even matter if she made stuff up.”

In her book, Katherine Jackson includes narratives by her children (except Michael). Compare Jermaine’s above excerpt with following excerpt from Katherine’s book, especially Jackie’s. 

          “KATHERINE: Jermaine was the tattletale.
            JACKIE: If we’d done something we didn’t want Dad to know about, we’d give Jermaine a cookie and make him promise not to tell. And he’d say “I promise.” But as soon as my father walked in the door, he’d go “Dad” and spill the beans anyway. Sometimes he’d even make up things.” (source)

Page 20 “As a two year old, she [Katherine] had polio. She had worn 
a wooden splint until she was ten.”

Katherine wrote in her book “I contracted it [polio] at the age of one and a half. I had to wear a brace on my leg for seven years.”

Page 21 “It took one spring and one summer for their romance to turn into marriage. Mother was on the street and Joseph was inside, sitting near his front window, when she rode by on a bicycle. They noticed each other. He plucked up the nerve to introduce himself. That led to a date at the movies and then the party with the dance floor. Katie Scruse fell in love with Joseph Jackson. They were wed in November 1949.”

The earlier years of Katherine and Joe in Jermaine’s book comes from Katherine and Joe’s books—only Jermaine’s ghost writer paraphrased some but omitted some conveniently.

Katherine and Joe’s history is less than the love at first sight “romance” in this book. You see, Katherine and Joseph dated for awhile but to Katherine’s dismay, Joe got married to another girl named Josephine. The couple moved in with her parents but they constantly fought because Joe couldn’t keep it in his pants—although in his book he deceptively wrote that it was Josephine with the fidelity issues. After 10 months of marriage, Joe and Josephine got divorced. I believe that Katherine and Joe had an affair while he was married. I also believe that they had to get married (because Katherine was pregnant with Reebie). Here’s their history as told in their books.

“One day I sat near the window and suddenly I saw a gorgeous girl with wonderfully beautiful features on the other side of the street, she went on a bicycle along the sidewalk. Her skin was yellowish-brown like the most sweet honey, she was the most beautiful shade I had ever seen. She reached to the end of street, stopped and rode back. When she passed by my house, she lifted her eyes and looked at me. She stopped at the end of the street again and she passed by again. She stopped her bike precisely in front of my house, on other side of the street. ‘Hi’ I shouted. She actually crossed the street to talk to me. I asked her name and where she lives. Her name was Katherine Scruse.” ~Joe

“My shyness as a child didn’t extend to boys. Together with Hattie {Katherine’s sister] and a few girlfriends, we founded a club in high school called the Blue Flames. Once every month or two, we’d hold a blue-light party in somebody’s home and invite our friends over to dance. With the twenty-five-cent admission we charged, we were able to save enough money to buy ourselves a nice gift at Christmas.

 I had already set my sights on the kind of man I wanted to marry: I wanted him to be a saxophone player. I thought saxophone players were sexy. It was at a house party when I first laid my eyes on Joe Jackson. I didn’t dance with him that night but when I saw him at another blue-light party, he noticed me and we danced a lot. I couldn’t do fast dancing because of my leg, so we danced to the slower songs.” ~Katherine

“Around midnight I took Kate home and led her to the front door. She stood there and looked at me like she thought I will come in with her.

 ‘Forgive me but I have to go’ she said.

 ‘Ok call me in the morning’ I said.

Finally the morning came. At 8 o'clock in the morning, the phone rang. It was Kate, she asked if I slept.

‘I could not fall asleep’ I said.

‘Joe, I too could not fall asleep’


‘I keep thinking of the party and how we danced. I simply laid in bed and thought of it. I even wrote a letter to you’ she said.

‘But you live in the next street, we can meet and talk’ I said.

‘I wrote what I can’t say to you’

‘So where is the letter?’

‘I will bring it to you and I will put it on the porch’


  I stood on the stairs before the front door when Katherine rode on the bicycle and gave me the letter. I opened the envelope. Katherine wrote me she loved me. And she confessed that there is another guy she likes. Since she mentioned his name, I asked around about him. I was told that he knows her from school, they were holding hands, kissing and hugging. They had been together for five years. She came to me after awhile and said: ‘we broke up. I told him that I love you.” ~Joe

Joe married Josephine AFTER he dated Katherine who tries to save face in her book, claiming that Joe got married because he didn’t know that Katherine liked him.

“I don’t think he knew that I had a crush on him, I didn’t tell him. Nowadays, it seems, girls often make the first move. I can’t believe how aggressive many young girls are today. But back then, no matter how much a girl liked a boy, she wouldn’t let him know. It wasn’t considered ladylike. Soon afterward, Joe married another girl, much to my disappointment. But their marriage lasted less than a year.” ~Katherine

Katherine wasn’t truthful in her above remarks. She wasn’t shy about boys, she wrote so in her book [excerpt above. “My shyness as a child didn’t extend to boys.”] and she did aggressively pursued Joe. They dated for awhile but Joe was also involved with Josephine and he chose to marry her. 

“I wanted to marry, there was one young lady with whom I had been in love, at least so I thought. Josephine and I married but unfortunately she was not loyal to me and we constantly argued because of that.” ~Joe

I believe that Katherine and Joe continued seeing each other even though Joe was married. Then Katherine got pregnant with Rebbie. 
Joe had to get divorced from Josephine and marry Katherine. 

To Be Continued......

Related links:
BOOK REVIEW: Jermaine Jackson's Book, Part 1
Katherine Jackson's Book [My Family: The Jacksons]
Joe Jackson's Book [The Jacksons]
Interview: Stephen Davis [Michael's Ghostwriter]


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