Monday, November 9, 2009

The Michael Jackson Tapes by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach Book Review

About the Author -Rabbi Shmuley is one of the world’s leading relationship experts and spiritual authorities. He has authored 21 best selling books in seventeen languages. You may have seen him on Shalom in the Home on TCL.

About the Book - The Michael Jackson Tapes consists of the transcripts that were taken from 30 hours of conversations between Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Michael Jackson.

Uri Geller (psychic) orchestrated their meeting. He felt Shmuley could give Michael some guidance in his life after the 1993 sexual abuse allegations, which tarnished Michael’s reputation.

Michael reveals to Shmuley that, “All I have ever wanted in life was to do something for the world’s children. Fame, money, they mean nothing to me. I want to devote my life to helping kids.”

These tapes are (in part) the result of the “moral make-over” that Shmuley suggested that Michael undergo to gain back the respectability that he had lost and to fulfill his dream of devoting his life to helping children. The tapes were made in Aug. 2000 through Aril 2001 with the original purpose of being published in a book for the public. The taped conversations reveal intimate details into Michael Jackson’s mind and soul.

The Review - I am fascinated with the Michael Jackson story, and The Michael Jackson Tapes does not disappoint. Like Shmuley, I concluded (in my brief article) that for many reasons, Michael Jackson’s death was a tragedy. In this book, Shmuley easily makes the connection that the death of Michael Jackson is an American Tragedy.

Michael told Shmuley that it was no big deal that many of his fans had banners declaring that Michael was God. I was intrigued when I read quotes like this one:

MJ: “I’m representing the higher being. I’m not saying I’m God, but I’m saying heal the planet, heal the world, save our children, save the forest. There is nothing wrong with that. Right?”

Shmuley strongly concluded that, “Arrogance is at the heart of all human corruption, and it doesn’t get much more arrogant than this.”

Michael would never do live auditions with children, because he couldn’t handle being the Michael Jackson that turned any kids down.

MJ: “I cannot face the pain of them not being accepted. I always have to do it that way.”

Shmuley observes that Michael’s handlers/employees were keen to how Michael didn’t like to confront or criticize people, so these associates and “friends” would only kiss up to Michael and never give him honest advice or criticism. Shmuley notes, “ If you criticized him, even as a friend who really cared, you’d never hear from him again.”

The tapes reveal the well-known struggles in Michael’s childhood like his troubled relationship and fear of his father. Oddly, the relationship with his mother was the complete opposite. He adored his mother Katherine and named attractions after her at his Neverland Ranch. The relationship with his mother was the only true loving relationship that Michael had. As a mother of two boys, I could relate to her easily and was intrigued with even her story.

Shmuley asks Michael about his views on women, his romantic relationships and his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley. The story ends where it began, with Shmuley asking Michael about children and why Michael had remained so childlike.

The original purpose of this book was to help Michael to gain back the respectability that he had lost and to fulfill his dream of devoting his life to helping children. Shmuley saw the obvious evolution and “new” purpose for this book. It is not merely to divulge details of Michael Jackson’s private life through his thoughts about himself, his life, and his career. Shmuley is asking the reader to “take a senseless tragedy and give it meaning… is not about fame and fortune but rather about God, family, community, and good deeds.”

According to Shmuley, Michael was simply like the rest of us and represents a microcosm of America. While Michael was characterized as “an oddball and a freak” Shmuley reveals how Michael Jackson was a thoughtful, deeply scarred and profound soul, “who was so broken that he could find no healing.” The book delivers a mesmerizing look into Michael Jackson’s mind through these conversations and a welcome dose of morality.

The Michael Jackson Tapes hard cover book sells for $29.95. It is currently available on for $17.13.

Thank you to FSB Associates for the opportunity to read this amazing book.


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