My Friend Michael: Just One Fan's Honest Review

Warning: This review WILL contain spoilers, so if you haven’t read the book yet but plan to, consider yourself forewarned!

Well, as I mentioned here before, I did end up receiving Frank Cascio’s book “My Friend Michael: An Ordinary Friendship With An Extraordinary Man” for Christmas. I also promised a full review after I had finished reading it.

Back when I did my article on Christmas Shopping For The MJ Fan On Your List I mentioned how polarizing this book has been in the fan community. I haven’t seen much easing up in that regard, but I will note one thing I’ve observed for the most part-those fans who thoroughly trash the book, along with Frank Cascio, will usually admit they haven’t even read the book. Most of them will say they refuse to read it; a refusal based on their own personal feelings against the Cascio family and/or some of the more sensational publicity this book garnered on release. Typically, every media review of the book honed in on what is actually one very small and isolated portion of the book-Michael’s drug use, especially that of propofol. When the book came out, it was at the height of the Murray trial and of course, this was the one topic the media cared about the most-and the one aspect of the book that every reviewer seemed eager to pounce on.

I think based on these early reviews, many fans had an automatic, knee-jerk response to the book and its author. Of course, none of that has been helped by the controversy over the Cascio tracks on the “Michael” album. Ever since then, Frank has been lumped in with his brother Eddie to become-like many of Michael’s acquaintances-a somewhat controversial and polarizing figure.

But regardless of how one feels about Frank Cascio personally, one fact is undisputable: Michael Jackson was a very big part of this young man’s life, for many years. Frank was there when many of the darkest chapters of Michael’s life played out. He knew both Jordan Chandler and Gavin Arvizo, and as one of the many boys who formed that circle of friends in the early 90’s that included McCauley Culkin and others, Frank was in a unique position to tell that side of the story.

I said when I received the book that I would read it with an open mind. The bottom line is that, yes, there are some things that may be unsettling to some fans-if they are still clinging to some idealized version of who Michael was. Since that’s never been an issue with me, I frankly wasn’t shocked by some of the book’s “revelations.” But I think the bigger picture here is that the book does exonerate Michael on many bigger and more important issues.

However, that isn’t to say that I didn’t read between the lines and also find some fault with the book. But overall, I honestly think the worst thing Frank is guilty of is what I call the “Insider’s Syndrome.” It seems to be something that no aquaintance of Michael’s was immune to. Without fail, everyone who knew him seems to want to think of themselves as Michael’s closest friend and most intimate confidante. And along with that, often the idealized belief that they could have somehow “saved” him. Granted, in Frank’s case, he did know Michael in a way few people ever got to.  And certainly it would be arrogant and presumprious of me-or anyone-to sit here and say I know better than Frank what Michael did or thought or said. That’s not my intent. However, I did sometimes catch myself reading between the lines and second guessing some of the assumptions he makes-for example, that Michael’s marriage to Lisa was a sham (even if they did have sex-according to Frank, the sex was just a by-product, not so much that they actually loved each other, but because Michael wanted kids…and well, frankly, she was there and available) or his assertion that Michael never had sex with Debbie (insisting that Prince and Paris were both conceived in vitro; so yes, according to Frank, Michael is indisputably the biological father of all his children,  but he never touched Debbie). To be fair, he makes it very clear that his assumptions are based on what Michael told him; he wasn’t there in the room, of course. But by his own admission, he also admits several instances where Michael lied to him-so who’s to say? I’ve read some fan reviews of the book where people have said, “How would Frank know the details of Michael and Lisa’s marriage; he was just a kid?”

According to Frank Cascio, Michael Said He Had Sex With Her...But That Was All It Was.

Yes, but…let’s not forget that Michael and Frank remained close friends well into Frank’s adulthood. I’m sure Michael probably talked to him about these things, if not at the time, maybe later.

But I did question, for instance, if he was really with Michael when Michael supposedly “chose” Blanket’s mother out of a donor catalog-or that it was actually he who made the final choice! I’m just very suspicious by nature when someone claims to have been right by Michael’s side through every major important move and decision of his life. I’m willing to give to Frank that he was there for a LOT of it-but to hear him tell it, he was practically Michael’s shadow! (Let’s just say, some of it I bought, and some I took with the proverbial grain of salt).

When I was reading the part about Michael and Lisa’s marriage, I couldn’t help but think back to what David Nordahl told me in our interview last year. David, who was another of Michael’s closest friends (for over 20 years) and very loyal, spent over two weeks living with Michael and Lisa at the Trump towers in 1994, and by his own account, Michael and Lisa were “very much in love.” I have no reason to doubt David’s sincerity, so for me, that casts an automatic cloud of suspicion over Frank’s claims that Michael told him he had married Lisa just to satisfy bin Talal (an Arabian businessman who Michael apparently had many dealings with, and who was also apparently insistent on Michael having an image as a family man-at any rate, according to Frank, this bin Talal seemed to be Michael’s magical explanation for a lot of things).

But there is also another possibility, which is that Michael may have told Frank this after having become bitter over the breakup with Lisa; perhaps as a way of salvaging his own pride. (Oh, well, I never loved her anyway; I just married her because bin Talal wanted me to).

With The Entire Cascio Clan

Now see, this is where Frank’s book gets interesting for me. It’s not so much what he writes, but the little, subtle things one can pick up between the lines. Or as I call them, the gray areas. For it’s often in those gray areas that one really finds the truth, or the closest version to it. What a reader can take from this is that there is often some element of truth in all sides of a story-in this case, a marriage that may have indeed been a sham-or started out that way. But nevertheless, perhaps Michael and Lisa did have genuine love, of a sort-and certainly had sex. So in that regard, the marriage was absolutely real! Michael could be manipulative and at times, did stretch the truth-but he was 100% honest and up front about the things that really mattered in his life, and this is what all readers need to keep uppermost in mind. Michael apparently never lied about the things that were most important-his innocence of the allegations, his vitiligo, the paternity of his children, and that ever pesky little question of his true sexuality. It doesn’t bother me in the least if the truth of the matter is that he never really wanted to marry either Lisa or Debbie. Michael wanted children-not necessarily a wife and children. But regardless, he did have a very real bond with both Lisa and Debbie. And as Debbie herself has said, so what if theirs wasn’t a traditional family or traditional arrangement? It was their decision, and their life.

Michael Was Undergoing Painful Vitiligo Treatments That Called For Up To 50 Facial Injections Per Doctor Visit

This is just the beginning. There are other very telling details that give a reader pause for thought, or that may make them question certain beliefs about Michael they have thought to be true. Just to give another example, one of the more controversial aspects of the book is that Frank writes candidly (but also, I should add, very sympathetically) about Michael’s struggles with painkiller dependency and the Demerol shots he was receiving from Klein.  But he also reveals that Michael was undergoing a very excruciatingly painful treatment for vitiligo that involved regular treatments of over fifty facial injections per visit.

I haven’t had time yet to research this treatment as thoroughly as I would like, but I did have some very interesting links that were provided to me by shelley (thanks!):

And then there is this document, in which Tom Meserau refers specifically to a vitiligo treatment Michael was receiving that involved injections:

The reason I find this interesting is because if this is true, it provides one more instance in which Michael is actually vindicated by the revelation of this information. Remember how the media had a field day with the Demerol story, and how they were speculating why anyone would receive that much Demerol just for botox injections? But could it be that the injections Michael was receiving were not for botox at all, but rather legit if albeit experiemental vitiligo treatments? I don’t know about you guys, but personally, the thought of having 50 needles injected in my face would certainly be enough to make me want a shot of Demerol! And remember, I had quoted before from Dr. Treacy who said that Michael did have hyersensitivity in the facial area due to past surgeries, and therefore always requested some form of sedation before any cosmetic or dermatological procedures:

There are other  examples of what I call “gray area vindication”  throughout the book, instances in which we can see how certain myths about Michael may have gotten their start, but also getting the whole story of the truth that often lay behind those stories.

Just for example, Michael did refer to wine as “Jesus juice” and often did drink wine in soda cans, just as was alleged by the Arvizos during the trial. But it was not for the sinister reason that the Arvizos and DA tried to insist in the trial; it was not for the purpose of enticing children to drink with him. Rather, it was something he did to protect the children around him, as he did not want to set an example of drinking alcohol to them. Also, because being the very private person that he was, he didn’t necessarily want everyone to know his business. However, sometimes it’s important to know the truth if it means the difference between exoneration and allowing false notions to stand. Personally, it doesn’t bother me to know Michael liked his wine, whether in soda cans or not; I would personally find it a lot more disturbing if he had gone around drinking openly in front of kids!

The important thing one has to keep in mind when reading a memoir-especially a memoir of one’s experience with a famous person-is that no matter how honest this person is, in the grander scheme of things, their story is simply their version of the reality they lived. The root word of “memoir” is “memory.” But by our very human nature, our memories are often selective; occasionally even distorted. Our versions of events are filtered by our own biases and whatever baggage we associate with those memories. Memoirs have to accepted as what they are-one individual’s reality and perception of events. Memoirs can be entertaining, engaging, and even thought-provoking. But they can’t-nor shouldn’t-always be taken as gospel. However, I think if a reader approaches this book with a fair and open mind, they can certainly learn about the man Michael Jackson that Frank Cascio knew. And I do think Frank is being honest and open in presenting us the man, Michael Jackson, who was his friend and mentor. Like I said, it may not necessarily jibe with the idealized version of Michael that many fans have. But we have to keep in mind, this was Frank’s experience and the Michael Jackson presented in this memoir is the man he knew. Ultimately, however, memoirs of this type always end up being as much about the person writing them as about the subject in question. We have to keep in mind this isn’t “just” Michael’s story. It’s also Frank’s story and what it was like to come of age as a young man living in the shadow of Michael Jackson. When you realize that your whole life has revolved around Michael Jackson since the age of four, how does one find their own identity and purpose in the world? How do they manage to forage their own path? For Frank Cascio, that question has probably been his biggest life challenge.

Frank also does a good job of debunking the whole false notion which emerged after the Bashir crock, which was that Michael routinely had kids over for sleepovers at Neverland. In simple truth, the infamous “sleepovers” never happened, at least not as they have come to be portrayed. The sleepovers involved entire families-families who often traveled over great distances to be at Neverland. Michael’s enormous bedroom suite became a kind of informal, focal gathering place for these families, where people watched TV, played games, or simply talked until everyone fell asleep, exhausted. With the candor of an insider’s persective, Frank tells the truth about what those nights spent at Michael’s house were…and more importantly, what they were not.

Contrary To Popular Myth, Michael DID Alter His Behavior With Children After The '93 Allegations. The Accusations Left Him Permanently Scarred, And Fearful Of Being Accused Again.

And contrary to what some cynics say, Michael did alter his behavior around children following the ’93 Chandler allegations. He never again allowed young children-especially boys-to be in his bedroom unchaperoned (the parents were always present) and in most cases, he was careful from then on to always make sure that any child he was around was accompanied by an adult. One of the small but significant details that my boyfriend and I have noticed is that throughout the HIStory tour, when he would do the Heal The World finale, he never held hands with the boys or picked them up; it was always the girls that he would single out. Obviously, the first allegations did their damage. He was scarred emotionally by the accusations-but he also learned from them. That he would come to be accused again would come about, not because of any undue carelessness or blatant disregard and arrogance on Michael’s part-as has often been erroneoulsy reported- but because he was too kind-hearted to turn down a child in need of help.

was Michael Jackson Slated To Be The Original Simon Cowell? Perhaps Yes, Had Plans For The Show "Hollywood Ticket" Materialized

There are also a lot of interesrting but little known facts that I discovered from the book. For example, did you know that in the early 2000’s, before the debut of “American Idol”, that Michael was being slated to do  his own weekly talent show, one in which he would have been the judge? Apparently the project, tentatively titled “Hollywood Ticket” fell through, mostly due to waning interest on Michael’s part (anyway, we all know Michael wasnt’t fond of being on TV; he probably got cold feet over the idea of being on national TV every week and the obligation of having to be a weekly judge and mentor) but I have to say, it certainly would have been interesting had the project gone through. Sadly, though, this seemed to be the story so often in Michael’s last decade, so many projects that never materialized, and the saddest of all, knowing that it was often his legal issues and the mismanagement within his own ranks that led to these aborted projects.

Frank Cascio’s experience with Michael Jackson was a unique one from the beginning. It wasn’t an aquaintance he sought out, or even one that he made on his own. Imagine, if you will, that you are a small child, and your parents just happen to be best friends with a world famonus superstar. This was how Michael Jackson came to be part of Frank Cascio’s life. Imagine said superstar becomes your mentor and greatest teacher; now flash forward many years, and you find yourself as a young adult not only working for him, but even at times having to reverse the father/son role, which is a sad reality that happens for many of us as we grow up and realize our parents or even our “parent figures” aren’t the perfect people we envisioned as children, but rather, imperfect human beings just like ourselves. I can see why some fans have concerns about the book. There were a few things that I questioned-even if it’s true, why the need to include it here if it serves no real purpose? Why not keep some things private? Just for example, I don’t know that the whole world necessarily needed to know that Michael experimented with marijuana. It’s not that I’m a prude and really, these days, smoking a little pot isn’t really frowned upon that much more than drinking beer. But as we know too well, the media has always been prone to judge Michael by a different standard than other celebrities. That’s really the whole issue when it comes to making these kinds of private details public-we all know how the media loves to sensationalize and run with any story on Michael Jackson. This knowledge is, in turn, I believe, why so many fans are prone to feel very over protective about what is written about Michael. It simply comes from long experience with knowing how the media has always loved to portray Michael Jackson. What is seen as harmless behavior for most celebrities somehow becomes damning when it’s Michael Jackson. (However, if you are curious about this, I’ll  just say that you’re probably going to find it quite funnny when you discover just who it was that turned Michael on to pot…hint: It certainly wasn’t any of his heavy metal stoner friends!).

Did Some of Michael's Luckier Female Fans Make It To "Never-Never Land?" Frank Says Yes. But The Occasional Encounters Were Always Very Discreet

Again, some will fault Frank for this revelation, just as they have for some of the things he reveals about Michael’s private sex life (though nothing too graphic; however, he does say that Michael had quite a few, casual encounters through the years, even with some fans…well, lucky them, I guess). However, I’ll stress again that the importance of knowing this information is that, violation of privacy or not, it does help to exonerate Michael in perhaps a far more crucial way, which is the knowledge that his only sexual interests were in adult relationships with women-not children, and certainly not with boys.

I think for Michael there was always a sort of “disconnect” from the human being that he was, and this sort of idealized vision he had of himself, or rather, the person he wanted to be. Sometimes it’s easy to look at some of his words vs. his actions and call them hypocritical, but that’s oversimplifying a very complex issue. As far as Michael’s stance on drugs and casual sex, he wasn’t just making a public stance when he spoke against them; that was really how he felt. As Frank says, Michael detested the typical drug-seeking, groupie-chasing pop lifestyle. He didn’t want to “be” that or to “become that.” He wanted to be a decent role model for young people to look up to. He also  didn’t want to be a cheap womanizer like his father and brothers, and the few times when he gave in to temptation, he wasn’t proud of it.  And also, his very religious upbringing played a large role in shaping his adult character-both for better and worse. I think Michael’s biggest overall problem, perhaps, was that he seemed to have a hard time just letting go and giving himself permission to be human. And when he did, there always seemed to be a measure of guilt which only compounded matters for him. I’ve heard people say he was a hypocrite because he claimed to be a vegetarian, but loved KFC (well, how many of us have ever tried to stick to a healty diet with the best of intentions, only to fall off the wagon sometimes-or even to enjoy an occasional indulgence?). I’ve heard people say he was a hypocrite because he spoke against recreational drug use, yet look at how he died (forgetting that his death had nothing to do with a recreational high, but rather was the culmination of years of pain and seeking ways to numb it). I’ve heard people say a lot of ignorant things, but the truth is, nobody knew that the pressure he put on himself to be perfect was more damning than anything anyone else could do or say. Perhaps the saddest thing of all is that he never seemed to realize that he didn’t have to be perfect for us to love him.

Personally, I think the book does a great job of balancing the idealized Michael Jackson with the human one. Michael didn’t walk on water and he wasn’t God. His bled like everyone else. But there is a very poignant passage in the book which I’ll quote here, since the quoting of brief passages are allowed for review purposes:

Michael’s skin disease, along with his difficult childhood and the molesation allegations, were conditions or circumstances that he did his best to survive, and the plastic surgeries he had on his nose were, like so many of his eccentricities, attempts to exert some kind of control over his own destiny and happiness. Those surgeries didn’t make him normal. And, in many people’s eyes, they didn’t make him beautiful. What they did do was make him Michael.

I bolded that last sentence to make a point. We could say likewise that Michael’s very human flaws didn’t make him good or bad, beautiful or ugly. But they did make him Michael. What emerges from this book is a portrait of a very beautiful, generous, talented, and  intelligent but vulnerable man who had been battering his wings against the iron bars of the gilded cage ever since he was five years old-he had learned how to fight, and how to survive, the only way he knew how. His way wasn’t always the best or most admirable way, but it was his way.

Michael and Frank, Still Friends To The End, Although Michael's legal Problems And The Arvizo Trial Would Drive A Wedge Between Them. They Reconciled, But The Scars Were Slow To Heal.

And it was the totality of this very complex humanity that made him who he was. If it achieves nothing else, I think “My Friend Michael” does a wonderful job of capturing that very complex humanity and allowing us all to get to know the man behind the myth a little better. There were many times while reading this book that I laughed out loud (you have to read all about the midnight excursion of the haunted hotel in Scotland; that part is hilarious); there were also many times that I cried. But most of all, I felt inspired. Through the pages of this book, one gets to know the great friend that Frank had in Michael-and when it’s over, we miss him all over again. We feel the ache of that emptiness; the void that has been left. We are reminded anew of how poorer we are for his loss; but also, how enriched we are for having had him among us for a little while.

ETA: (1/14/12): I thought this might be a cute addition to the review. In the book, Frank mentions that he was with Michael at the Virgin Megastore record signing in 2001. Like most fans, I’ve watched the videos of this very well-known event, but until now hadn’t paid much attention to Frank’s role in it. He was just one of the guys sitting to the side. But knowing what I do now, I was curious so I went back to this video series. Of course, the entire eight-part series is available on Youtube, but the one I chose to highlight here is Part 5. At 3:45, a fan is talking to Michael (they discuss a recent bout with larngytis, among other things) and then he asks, “Is that the famous angel? Angel Frankie?” Then, at both 6:51 and 9:29, you can see Frank and Michael cracking each other up as they exchange a couple of private jokes between them (I suspect they might have been joking around about some of the girls in line). It’s very funny and cute to watch, and you really get a feel for what their relationship was like when you watch them interacting here.


ETA: (4/26/12): A very good interview with Frank about the book:

129 thoughts on “My Friend Michael: Just One Fan's Honest Review”

  1. Hi Raven!

    Great review. I loved the book. I left my opinions and preconceived notions at the door, realizing that what Frank wrote was basically the truth, written from his viewpoint and impression of Michael Jackson. I, too, laughed out loud and cried. I cried not at what was revealed, but at what no one but Michael Jackson had to endure during his brilliant life. I cannot imagine how Michael functioned as well as he did in the last few years. His physical pain from the many injuries he sustained, e.g. his badly burned scalp (I saw the video right after the fire was smothered–the burn was ghastly and I just gasped and cried thinking of how painful it was), the treatments for his vitiligo and various facial surgeries, the injuries to his limbs and back. And imagine the pain his feet endured? I have a very painful exposed nerve ending in my right foot (neuroma) that burns like fire when I’m on my feet too long. Imagine the pounding his feet endured from his intense dancing? So, I cannot judge or condemn Michael for taking pain medication and becoming addicted. He was human, not a machine. There’s not a day that passes since we lost him that I don’t wish it was all a cruel, monstrous bad dream. It kills me to think that he either didn’t realize the dangers of constant Propofol use, or he just felt they were overplayed and a “skilled” physician would keep the ‘danger wolf’ at bay. Sometimes I think that maybe he was just so tired–he’d been performing his heart out since he was such a little boy. Maybe he was so stressed and overcome with anxiety that his judgment became cloudy. We’ll never really know the truth, will we? And then there was the mental torment. I really don’t know how he did it.

    As for his love life, I’m not sure if Frank’s spin on his marriage to Lisa is really true. I believe that he and Lisa Marie loved each other passionately. If Lisa would have had children with him, things could have been very different. I believe he loved Debbie differently, but he did love her and I know she loved him. You can see it very clearly in her eyes and body language during the Bashir rebuttal scenes. I think if she could have, she probably would have had more kids with him. She, too, was close to him and probably could share some really beautiful aspects of his personality from a women’s viewpoint. It comes as no surprise to have Frank reveal that Michael did have lots of romantic relationships, including some with fans. He wouldn’t be a man if he could resist the pursuits of desirable, adoring women. He loved his fans and I think he trusted them probably more than lots of his so-called closest advisors.

    What I find very revealing was the fact that people surrounding Michael often played games and did try to play one against the other. That must have been particularly distressing to Frank during the trial when the media tried to make it look like Frank had abandoned Michael. It wasn’t true.

    I think the Cascio familly loved Michael like their son and he loved them. Contrary to what alot of fans think, Frank wrote the book to help dispel the many rumors, misconceptions and outright lies that stubbornly continue to be bandied about, and to reveal an extraordinarly kind, intelligent and really funny man. They shared an unforgettable friendship.

    It’s the best book I’ve read about Michael. I wish skeptical fans would give it a chance.

    Thanks for a really good review.

    1. “What I find very revealing was the fact that people surrounding Michael often played games and did try to play one against the other. That must have been particularly distressing to Frank during the trial when the media tried to make it look like Frank had abandoned Michael. It wasn’t true.”

      Yeah, the bad part about that was that Frank was so young at the time, too. Still just a kid, actually. He was too young to really be involved in the dirty business of trying to manage a powerful superstar’s career and business dealings. That was a shark nest and no place for a kid, even though I know Michael was trying to help him by giving him this very adult responsibility. I’m sure it made a man of him at a very young age, but at what cost? The dirty politics involved didn’t shock me at all. Whenever there is power and money involved, it brings out the worst in people, even those who might ordinarily be very decent people. The games these people will play and the tactics they will use to undermine one another are blood curdling, to say the least.

      There were a few times when I think Frank did overstep his bounds-the Court and Derrick incident, etc-I really didn’t blame Michael for being a little ticked over that one.

  2. Great review, thank you. It is important to remember that these are
    Frank’s memories, from his perspective and experience. Personally, I
    loved it…Michael’s humanity deserves to be recognized and embraced, the truth of it..not the fabricated history that sits now on library shelves.
    One note: Frank’s brother, Eddie, worked with Michael on the music, not Frank.

    1. I can make that clarification. I guess my point was simply that after the whole controversy over the “Michael” tracks Frank became lumped in with that. I’m still doing edits; I somehow lost an entire chunk of text last night. I was having problems with one of my images. It kept “eating” my text-literally. By the time I got done editing, and deleting the troublesome image, I realized I’d somehow “lost” an entire paragraph, which I then had to go back and re-write from scratch (still not happy with it; my eyes were too tired by then to do a good, fresh edit). So I will probably still be tweaking this a bit over the next few days.

  3. Michael was human yes, and I don’t blame him one bit for having become dependent on pain medications, or anxiety meds for that matter after all he had been through. As a nursing student, they are constantly telling us that pain management is very important, and not to withhold pain meds from someone just because they may or are becoming dependent on them. Always believe the patient’s report of pain.

    My issue with Frank is that he had no business telling the dirty details of Michael’s drug/alcohol use. It is enough to simply say ‘Yes, Michael had some issues with dependency, but here’s why…’and leave it at that. The world (media) could have done without learning about how Frank had to rescue Michael from a high of Xanax and vodka— in front of his kids. And we also could have done without knowing that Michael smoked pot because Barry Gibb (who hasn’t really been relevant since the late 70s at least commercially) told him it awakened the creative juices. It would have been much more understandable that he tried medical marijuana as a more ‘natural’ remedy for his pain.

    While I do believe that he did a good job on vindicating Michael of child abuse, I think Frank threw his friend under the bus with details that he shouldn’t have, just to sell his book. I’m sure Chris Tucker and MacCauley Culkin have stories they could tell, but they remain silent. What TRUE friends they are.

    1. Those were some of my thoughts as I read through, too. I guess I’m pretty firmly in the middle because there was a lot about the book I loved, but then also a lot of things I questioned-as in, Did we really need to know all this? If it helps us to better understand Michael, where he was coming from and who he was, then maybe yes. But if not (if it’s just sensationalism for its own sake) then no.

      I didn’t think the whole episode with Sony/Invincible was handled very well at all. A reader won’t come away fully understanding what transpired during that debacle, or WHY Michael was so “paranoid” (not without good reason).

      I sort of got the feeling that what Frank was doing was being careful to not make it look as if he was just kissing Michael’s rear every step of the way. By showing that he sometimes fought and disagreed with him, he can better present himself as a credible filter of events. Otherwise, critics would just brush his book off as fluff and it would probably negate a lot of the good it does in truly exonerating Michael where it matters most. That was some of the impression I got. I don’t think his intent was to tear Michael down, but just trying to show that being his friend and working for him wasn’t always a picnic. There were up’s and down’s, and sometimes they fought, and sometimes Michael was a pian in his rear. Without some conflict or drama, it’s pretty hard to get a book published; people don’t just want a nice story, unfortunately; they want drama and conflict; juicy details. Or as Michael would say, dirt. That’s what sells. But I agree, there has to be/should be some level of discretion involved. There were parts of the book where I felt bad for Michael because I know he wouldn’t have wanted all of this to get out (but I guess coming from the backside of the Murray trial, there’s nothing much left that is sacred; Michael’s whole life has been laid bare even down to his naked body on the autopsy table. One has to ask, what possibly is left that IS still sacred at this point? It’s very sad, actually).

      Anyway I just wanted to let you know I do agree with some of your points which are very valid and legit concerns. As far as books written about Michael go, it’s definitely one of the better ones and one I would recommend, but not without some reservations. Unfortunately now that Michael is gone, most of what we will ever get to know about him (other than through listening to his music, which nothing can replace as far as learning who he was) is going to come to us second-hand via the people who knew him. But the burden of work still falls on us to really piece it all together into a cohesive whole-if there is one prevailing lesson I would like for everyone to take from this book, it’s that you can’t just rely on one person’s version of events. I like to think of books like this as tools that help me to understand Michael better…but in the end, I still do my own work, I do my own research, and I draw my own conclusions. Like I said, books such as this are tools for me, but not the end all and be all to my understanding of who Michael was.

      1. Raven, I give this book a thumbs down. I read it open mindedly, did not have an idealized image of Michael, but I think I understand love and friendship. I feel it was a betrayal for profit. When will the fans realize they can also be exploited? I have read countless opinions of this book, but my own opinion has only grown stronger, and I wish Mr. Cascio had tried to work out his personal issues with Michael in private rather than in this book. The only saving grace is that I don’t think this book will be a definitive one on Michael Jackson. I guess I can’t shake the fact that a FRIEND that supposedly LOVED Michael wrote this judgmental book about him (MICHAEL PLEADED WITH THE FREAKING WORLD NOT TO JUDGE HIM) and then here comes Cascio’s book for profit JUDGING HIM ! 🙁

        Sorry for the caps, but I’m still mad about this stupid book!

    2. Raven, I have not read Frank’s book, nor do I care to. The only thing I know about the contents of the book are excerpts that I have read on line. It seems as though everyone wrote or is writing a book about Michael. I never purchsed any of them. However, I do agree with you 100% that Frank should not have included personal details about Michael in his book. It was not necessary to do that by someone who was “supposedly” like family to Michael. If it were the other way around, Michael certainly would not have done that to Frank or any of his friends– Michael had more respect. I consider it very disrespectful for Frank to have commented on very personal details of Michael’s life. It is no one’s business but Michael’s. I am positive that some of the remarks contained in Frank’s book were only to create sensationlism and to sell his book; just as the news media wrote lies and untruths about Michael to sell their magazines and increase TV ratings.

      1. Overall, it’s a positive book that I think does Michael’s legacy more good than any harm. The good for me outweighs the negative but still, yeah, there were a few things I think could have been handled more discreetly.

  4. Fay don’t let your anger of this book allow you to put down a magnificent musical artist such as Barry Gibb. The Bee Gees were a commercial success all the way till the death of Maurice Gibb in 2003.
    I’m not that good at writing long responses/statements so this will be a short one. Personally, I loved the book. It gave us snapshots of Michael’s life and how Frank’s story was intertwined with Michael’s story. I had no problem with the drug use listed by Frank in the book because it made Michael much more human to me. I mean, Michael was going through a lot of physical and emotional pain after the 93 case. He needed something to help him get through the pain, and the drugs allowed him to escape for a few short hours from his life every time he took them. Overall, Michael Jackson was a human being. I don’t like to look at him in any idealized or “perfect” fashion because that was probably one of the factors that made Michael take drugs. His wanting to become that perfect being that people wanted him to be was probably a torment on his mind. Michael didn’t have to be perfect to have my love, he just needed to be himself.

    1. Louis, I’m not upset that Frank reported that Michael used drugs. I did acknowledge that it is understandable that he did. Nobody needed the sordid details of what and when.

      As far as Barry, I know he was a good musician and still making music but where after the 70s? Has he had any radio play, successful CD releases during the years he was teaching Michael to ‘open up his senses’ with pot? I certainly have not heard of any Gibb material over the years that was Billboard chart or Grammy worthy to prove that becoming a pothead was working for him.

  5. Wonderful, Raven. I am very much in line with you.
    What – apart from the Barry Gibb stuff – almost amused me regarding the pot was that Michael eventually got it from one of his young friends. After all the lies that were spread in the past about Michael giving Cocaine or other drugs to young boys – it was the other way round: It was Frank, one of the “boys”, who had a stash of pot and who made Michael try it for the first time – when he was already in his 40ies!

    1. Well, one thing I can say about marijuana, at the expense of sounding as though I’m condoning use of an illegal drug, it has some good benefits, such as easing anxiety, mellowing you out, and also relieving physical pain-actually, a much healthier alternative than the pain medications.

      Though I think Frank credits a statement to Michael that is erroneous when he says it was what Native Americans used in their peace pipes. This is a very common misconception that people seem to have. The use of hallucinogenic drugs among Native Americans is limited to the use of peyote which is only practiced by a very small fraction of those involved with The Native American Church, and even then it is only administered by specially trained medicine people for religious purposes only (very much akin to the partaking of wine at the Eucharist).

      The so-called “peace pipe” is a sacred ritual known as the calumet ceremony, and the only ingedient that goes into a calumet is pure tobacco. Anything other than pure tobacco would be a violation of the calumet and the ceremony, and is strictly prohibited.

      David Nordahl, like me, is part Native American. I remember we joked about that very topic when I talked with him last year in Gary. I remember asking him if Michael knew much about Native American culture and his immediate response was an uneqivocal “No.” Michael was intrigued by some of the more romantic notions of Native culture-just as a lot of people are-but obviously, didn’t have the time of day or inclination to really study the culture in depth.

      But since I’m reviewing the book anyway and we’ve turned to that topic, I did want to clarify that because it’s an erroneous statement made in the book which Frank attributes to Michael. And if Michael really did think that…well, he was wrong. But it’s a miconception so widely held, one can’t really blame him for thinking it.

      1. Yes, Raven, I also heard about the good benefits of marijuana. I even heard about medical case studies on it.
        Regarding the calumet ceremony you certainly need a more detailed knowledge to understand all of it. But I can imagine that it was Michael’s true notion to attribute peacefulness to Native Americans, and so he made this romantic connection.

  6. Great review, Raven. My take was very much as yours. Like some others here, there were sections that I wish could have been left on the editing floor, but all in all, this is Frank’s story of a bond and ongoing friendship with a dear friend. It was a bit self-serving at times, as if he needed to vindicate his own behaviour, but that seems to be the case for many people that knew Michael. I have loved Michael since he was 11 years old, and I have never understood the need of many fans to deify him. His greatness, not only his musical genius, but his humantarism and his kindness, is made even more so because he was a human being — with flaws and warts, just like all of the rest of us. The difference is that this gentle soul transcended the flaws and warts MORE THAN MOST OF US. He has always been held to an impossible standard of conduct, as if he cannot be appreciated for the greatness he gave the world unless he was utterly and completely perfect — a standard that NO human being can attain. I have often wondered if some of the hurtful things said of him came from individuals who were attempting to bolster their own image at his expense, whether consciously or not. There is a bit of this in Frank’s book. Mostly, I found it poignant and funny, and it just reinforced Michael’s lovely soul. And there is no question in my mind that Frank truly loved his friend. Thanks for this review.

    1. I got the feeling a lot of what he’s doing is trying to set the record straight about some things; to clear up all misconceptions about him for once and for all. I think that was the motive behind some of the more “self-serving” aspects of the book. Memoirs of this type, by their very nature, have to be as much about the person writing them as about the celebrity subject. Otherwise, all we have is a biography. They usually involve a lot of soul searching on the part of the writer, as they are self reflecting on what this experience has meant for them and its impact on their life.

      One of the best early memoirs of this type that I first read was a book called “Up And Down With The Rolling Stones” by a guy who was a young rock critic at the time (can’t think of his name right now; he was Italian, I think). He spent about two decades traveling with the band, and even lived with Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg for awhile. Of course, I heard that many years later, after his book came out, he ran into Keith Richards one day and Keith punched him out! But anyway, I was just a teen when I read the book and all I remember thinking was, “Gosh, I bet it’d be cool to be best friends with a rock star, and get to hang out at their house and party with them!”

      Ultimately, however, most of these stories end the same-the person comes away forever changed by the experience, in both positive and negative ways. The positiive, of course, is having such a unique and wordly experience, and being touched by that indefinable magic which stays with one forever; the downside is that along with the magic, comes the jadedness of getting caught up in a sort of surreal world where everything is moving too fast, and everyone is trying to stab someone in the back. If you’ve ever watched the movie “Almost Famous” it is a perfect example. There’s much that is gained but also a certain innocence that is lost forever. But in almost all cases, the person will usually say that they wouldn’t trade having had that experience for anything.

      So I think this is where Frank is in his life at the moment. Still trying to evaluate what his friendship with Michael has meant for him and how it has affected so many aspects of his life. Frank is still very young (sometimes as I was reading it was almost hard for me to fathom that this is a young man still barely past 30) and he still has most of his life ahead of him. Provided he lives a full life span, his years without Michael will be much longer than the years he had with him. Yet his entire life will continue to be forever shaped and influenced by those brief, twenty years or so that he spent as a friend of Michael Jackson.

    2. You don’t have to deify Michael by wishing that his ‘friends’ had some discernment on what not to talk about. Of course Michael was human and his pain and anxiety caused him to turn to prescription meds, totally understandable. But I’m sure Michael would not have wanted the world to know specific details of what he took and his behaviors while on it and that he was inebriated in the presense of his kids. Nobody needs those kinds of facts.

      I’m sure most people would not want their best friend talking about the sordid details of their lives if they were to pass on. That does not make the deceased less human to require some discretion and dignity after they are gone.

      Poor Michael didn’t need any enemies…he had plenty of friends for that.

  7. aun no he leido el libro,no se consigue en Argentina.No condenare a Michael por lo que lea,como Cuervo ,investigo y saco mis conclusiones.Gracias Frank por dejar conocer aspectos de un ser maravilloso,el mas grande talento de todos los tiempos.,gracias por dejar que lloremos y riamos con tus relatos.Amo a Michael por todo lo que fue ,lo bueno ,lo malo y lo feo.God Bless you Frank.

  8. Thanks Raven for your review. I agree with you that it seems to be a caring tribute to a dear friend, while confirming Michael’s humanity. He was a human being above all else with the same doubts and anxieties as the rest of us, who had to live his life under the most extreme pressure filled circumstances imaginable. Post 2005 I oftentimes found myself wondering how Michael was doing in handling the emotional devastation caused by the public allegations, and what toll it was all taking upon him while trying to raise three children. And just to think again how public and speculative it was concerning “drug use” and “plastic surgery”, and the torrent of law suits that came Michael’s way post-2005 when he was so vulnerable and hurting. I think Cascio did a good job of presenting heretofore small unknown elements of the trial. What I took exception to, like many others here, was his reference to matters better left unsaid, such as Cascio’s perceived prior propofol use on Michael’s part while he, Cascio, was still in his teens. Jermaine J. in his book makes a similar thinly veiled observation and thereafter draws the same conclusion. Could both have witnessed merely an IV for hydration at those times? Not being naive here, as both made the statements with no proof to back them up.

    Raven, off topic, Raven, have you seen Arnold Klein is auctioning on line through Bonhams’s some items (to pay bills) on January 23, among them several MJ items given to him. Personally, I hope they don’t sell, Klein, ugh. Among them is a picture of Debbie, Michael and Dr. Metzger, under which Klein states that Metzger toured with Michael during the History tour, another thinly veiled reference to Metzger being the MD who supplied prop to Michael at that time. I believe Metzger under oath testified he never gave prop to Michael. I thought interesting Klein’s statement that Metzger toured with Michael during History. Another “allegation” with no supporting facts, i.e., the story of Michael’s last 20 years. Thank you for this review, Raven.

    1. Yes, this was where I thought the book took a turn for the worse into speculative sensationalism. Frank didn’t actually know what kind of treatments Michael was receiving. He is speculating in hindsight based on the knowledge of what killed him. In some ways, that’s a natural human reaction when we lose someone we love, especially in such a tragic way. Often we’ll go back in our minds; things we remember, and will think: Could it have been going on, even then? Right under my nose? Could I have done something to stop it…if I’d only known?

      While that is a normal and natural reaction, I just got the feeling that what he was doing here was unnecessarily playing on the sensationalism of the trial and the fact that Michael’s use of propofol was going to be a hot topic-and what’s more, a hot selling point for the book. Even if the media did take some of those passages out of context and sensationalize them, it was nevertheless all part of a strategy to drive sales of the book.

      I’m not even suggesting that he should have sugar coated anything. Just saying I think he should have been a little more clear in letting readers know he was speculating about the nature of what was going on behind those closed doors when he was sent away, rather than leading to the foregone conclusion that Michael was definitely receiving propofol at that time.

      Even if he was, it’s important to note that in all of these instances, every precaution was being taken to make sure it was done properly, by a team of two or more doctors who were there to monitor him throughout him the process (well, I guess as properly as it could be done outside of a hospital setting). Remember, Michael allegedly told nurse Cherilyn Lee that it was safe “as long as I am monitored.”

      Yes, I heard about Klein’s auction.

      Actually, I don’t have a very high opinion of many of those doctors who testified at the trial (Dr. Shafer excluded, of course). Metzger testified under oath that he would never administer propofol in a home setting, and the DA was able to use that to their advantage in winning the case (look, all of these doctors, even those testifying for the defense, admit they would never give propofol in a home setting)…BUT BUT BUT…it’s very easy for any doctor to SAY what they know is the proper thing to say. Quite another when it comes to what is actually done behind closed doors, when no one knows but them and the patient. Of course no doctor in his right mind is going to get on the witness stand and condone giving propofol at home, let alone admit they would do it…or have done it. Dr. Murray just got caught because of his own bumbling idiocy and negligence which led to the death of his patient. But even though I was happy that Metzger’s testimony helped win more points for the DA, I couldn’t help but get a sick feeling in my stomach. I just knew that man was lying through his teeth when he said that. But it was the only answer he could give without incriminating himself.

  9. thank you so very much for this book review. i love your writing style.

    was wary of picking this up and to be honest, have never trusted anyone who comes out to write a memoir and capitalize on a situation that was supposed to have been intimate and secret.

  10. Raven,

    I did not read your post yet. But I just want to say it is really nice to see that you are back. From time to time I go to your website link to see if you are up yet. Today you made me happy to see your blog running. What a wonderful day for me. Welcome back even though I am a little late.

    I just want you to know that your work is really appreciated and very important for all of us who love Michael.

    Okay now I am going to read.

    1. Thank you, I’m so glad to have the site back up and running again, too. Well, I tried to let people know via Facebook and on as many MJ sites as I could think of. I tried to get the word out through as many avenues as I could and then figured will just have to depend on word of mouth to do the rest. So anyway, I’m glad you checked in! We are still planning eventually to link the old material from the previous incarnation of the site, but that will take some time. Everything from November 2009 to Februray 2011 will be included in that archive. But I’m happy with the decision we made because now we’re on a regular host server and so the disaster that happened last year shouldn’t happen ever again. The worst thing that can happen now is that if I lose internet service I might not be able to update the blog, but at least the blog itself will be here, and that’s a huge relief.

  11. Raven,
    I want to admit that I am the one too who had “automatic knee-jerk response” at the beginning about Frank’s book and refused to read his book. I became so critical of one thing. When the Cascios were interviewed by Oprah, Frank said he has never seen Michael drugged or with any drug at all. During the Murray’s trail he changed his mind and said to Dr. Drew on his show that he used to hide some drug such as Valium from Michael so he won’t take it. why is that he changed his mind? That is the only thing that really disappointed me. I am not saying he shouldn’t say anything if Michael had a drug problem, what I am saying is why the story changed? To gain what?

    1. You know, I had forgotten about that! I’ll have to go look up that interview again if it’s still available.

      Maybe one possible explanation is that he just didn’t want to get into all of that on Oprah, knowing he wouldn’t be able to get in more than a sounbyte or two which could then be twisted the wrong way-especially by Oprah! Other than that, I really have no idea why he would have told two totally different, inconsistent stories.

      Okay, off to Youtube now! Hopefully I’ll find it.

    2. Ok, I found the vids. Thanks again for mentioning this because I did need the memory refresher! But apparently it wasn’t Frank who downplayed ever seeing any drug use, it was Eddie. The way it played out when the question was brought up (of course we all know, Oprah is going to bring it up!) was that Dominic said he was shocked to learn of it (and this may be true. In the book, Frank says that his parents were kept in the dark about a lot of it). Eddie just sort of downplays it; Frank says nothing.

      So to answer your question, his story didn’t actually change because he never said anything about the drug use on Oprah; of course, he doesn’t do anything to counter what his dad and brother said, either. But maybe there were reasons for that.

      Here is the interview:

      1. I think the answer is in the book. He said his family never saw under drugs except for one time in 2000-2001 and never after that.

  12. Thank you for your review on this book. I am only on chapter 4 but I am also taking things with a grain of salt. Being open minded, and I always knew that Michael put on his pants one leg at a time just like the rest of us. He was flawed cause he was human and not a GOD. He had GOD like qualities just like the rest of us because GOD made us all.

  13. Raven,

    It was a long time since the Oprah’s interview, so I thought it was Frank who said that. Thank you for looking it up and clarifying it for me.

    I agree with you and it’s sad to know how Michael’s “so many projects that never materialized.” It sure is heart breaking. Well maybe in his next life time he will embark to finish on what he started and never finished. I believe no human beings ever accomplish all what he/she wanted in one life time, and I believe there are next and next time for all.

  14. From what I remember about the Dr. Drew interview and also the one Frank gave to the MJJ community, and from what I recall from the book, Frank doesn’t say he saw Michael being infused with propofol. He just said he saw Michael being readied to be infused with something. In fact, on the interviews he takes great pains to insist and reiterate that he never saw Michael receive propofol, ever. The publishing industry being what it is, of course there were editors insisting on controversy. We don’t know what Frank had to edit out to please them. And he did have a professional writer helping him. I guess there was a certain trade-off. Frank had to come to terms with the fact that he could not write the book exactly the way he wanted, not if he wanted a legitimate big-time publishing house behind him. NO WRITER CAN unless they’re self-published. Even Joe Vogel had to delete lots of material for his study of Michael’s music to please his own publisher, mostly for length reasons, but I’m sure we all would have loved to access to the stuff that was deleted.
    You hit on something–not only was Frank extremely young during most of the time he was with Michael, but his youth-“filter” kept him from seeing some things in their proper perspective or understanding them wholly. He experienced his youthful friendship with Michael through that filter–how could it be otherwise? I bet his memories will pass through another filter with time so that if you asked him about the same memories when he’s in his sixties, he would have a different take on a lot of it.
    I agree that he added some less than flattering details to make the book more credible. And I, too, thought Frank should have kept some things to himself (just as I thought Jermaine, in his book, spent too much time recalling his own illustrious career and how it paralleled Michael’s in importance).
    Looking into the future, say a hundred years or so, when the tabloid stuff will have faded away and been discounted while Michael’s music remains intact, I realize that scholars will appreciate both Jermaine’s and Frank’s books, as well as the ones by Aphrodite Jones and Geraldine Hughes, the fan book “It’s all About Love,” and MJ’s realtor friend Gloria Rhoads Berlin’s “Michael Jackson in Search of Neverland.”
    That’s when the more scholarly biographers will use sources like these to piece together Michael’s life in a more balanced way. That’s when material like this blog and the countless and priceless You-Tube videos chronicling Michael’s life from infancy will be needed. My question is–will this blog and those videos still exist then, or will a few books be all that’s left for those scholars to draw on? What are Michael’s friends and fans doing to pass on the on-line legacy in a medium that withstands the passage of so many years?

    1. I often think about this. It will only be a matter of years until everyone who knew Michael will also be gone. Just in the last two years, many of those closest to him have passed on. I’m sure the music will endure-in whatever form future generations will be using. But like you, I often ponder what sort of materials future scholars will draw from.

      What I think will eventually happen will be a revisionism of Michael’s public reputation and cultural legacy. Just for example, most people now would agree that slavery is wrong, that what was done to Jews and Native Americans was wrong, that it was wrong for gays to be persecuted, etc, etc. But at the time, these evils of society were upheld by many. It took historical revisionism to bring about a change in perception and thinking. And I believe this will happen eventually for Michael, also. I think future generations will come to see him as an innocent man who was unfairly persecuted and scapegoated by a judgemental society. (Anyone who doesn’t believe that should look back only a hundred years or so to see how vilely Oscar Wilde was treated by the press and the public; now, of course, most people just think it was very sad and tragic that a man should be imprisoned and punished just for being gay. But at the time, he was scorned, ridiculed, his plays shut down, etc. It was the worst kind of public lynching). I think that future generations will come to realize that Michael Jackson was unfairly persecuted.

      That was a bit off-topic but the last part of your comment made me think of that.

    2. I strongly agree with you, Kris, concerning what historians will draw upon decades down the road when they write about Michael. Many books, including Frank’s, I’m sure will still be available from this current generation whether in print or in a digital format or whatever formats are developed in the future. But as you mentioned, many important blogs, such as Raven’s, have also contributed to the dialog in important ways and should be maintained into perpetuity.

      This is why I feel Raven’s blog, along with other well written and researched blogs, is so important and should be preserved. The fans were a crucial part of Michael’s world and we know he acknowledged this numerous times throughout his life. In many ways the fan community had/has been a type of distant extended family, in a matter of speaking, to Michael. His unique relationship to them (us) helped to shape who he was and I feel is very different to other fan/celebrity “relationships.” As a result, they (we) are very much part of his story. It’s important to note, however, that I’m not suggesting the fans should take credit for what Michael accomplished in his life, not at all. That came from Michael. However, it is important to record this unique relationship and how it shaped Michael’s view of the world and himself, both good and not so good. On the one hand, Michael received a lot of love from his fans which he acknowledged and often tried to return, on the other hand, such affection from so many meant Michael’s ability to move around freely and maintain some privacy was extremely restricted despite ample financial resources.

      Raven’s excellent blog articles and discussions (always great!) along with other respected blogs such as MJJ-777, The Silenced Truth, MJJCommunity, Vindicate Michael, etc., should be maintained, I believe, as part of the permanent historic record for future generations to view and use as research on how Michael was viewed by his fans. Many of the best blogs/websites document in exquisitely respectful, honest, fact based detail, subjectively and objectively, how the fan community viewed this one human being and the issues surrounding him in life and after his passing, and how he affected their lives. Michael was a human being with flaws, like any of us, but as we all know he also did some pretty special and amazing things in his all too short life that made people stand up and take notice. The fact that so many have taken great pains to chronicle that fact and chronicle how Michael positively affected them is extra-ordinary to say the least and shouldn’t be allowed to disappear. In fact, we saw a hint of that possibility for a few months with Raven’s blog last year. All that wonderful content disappeared in an instant!! Thankfully, Raven’s blog is back up with intelligent and insightful new articles…:-) (In fact, I’m looking forward to the older articles also coming back on-line!)

      An important aspect of blogs that books can never duplicate is the almost real-time interaction with the fan community/public at large and the ability to take the “pulse” of that community as issue take place. It has also enabled the fan community to rally together when serious issues came up such as the cancelation of that hideous documentary of over a year ago and the re-instatement of Michael’s name on the Auditorium at Gardner St. Elementary school. Only 2 of many fan based events that have become important parts of Michael’s history after his passing. 100 years from now, long after Michael’s contemporaries have passed on, new fans and researchers of Michael’s will hopefully be able to look back at these blogs and see how he affected people in his own time before and immediately after his untimely passing in a way that books can’t do. What an incredibly valuable resource that is!!! I very much hope these resources are preserved!!!

      Back to Frank’s book. Like most, I always have a hard time when someone close to Michael decides to publish a book that they ultimately profit from in order share “their” story or “set the record straight,” so to speak. Because of the influences that have already been mentioned, such as the publishers need to make money, the very content of these books often is dictated by “money.” “Money” is always a lousy filter to see the world through and too many can only see the world through that filter which often creates distortions. However, I found the above article and extensive discussion very valuable in helping me put Frank’s book in some perspective. Of course none of us can know everything about a single human being but Frank provides his small piece of the puzzle with some unfortunate TMI added in for the benefit of the publisher. Ugh. In this case, I will give Frank the benefit of the doubt regarding his book and where his heart is concerning Michael.

      Love and blessings to all!!!

      1. Thanks for your kind words. You know, there is a tendency on the part of many to dismiss fan blogs because people assume we’re biased and the research we present simply reflects our biases. But if these same people would only stop and think, the truth is that most of us who write MJ blogs are far more knowledgable (and do far more in-depth research) than any of the so-called cut and paste journalists who are out there wriing their (just as equally biased) and ill-informed articles on Michael all over the ‘net.

        If one thinks about it, who would you trust more to know the truth about Michael Jackson: A dedicated fan who spends hours researching every detail of his life and compiling everything that’s been written about him (both good AND bad) or some “journalist” who just considers him another story and spends, at best, maybe an hour or two simply regurgitating tabloid gossip because they can’t be bothered to dig any deeper?

        When I started this blog, my goal was to bring my journalism and scholarly background into play by presenting Michael and his life and art as a subject worthy of serious scholarly study. Of course, I’m also a fan so I’m aware of my biases, but then again, that’s really what blogs are; simply a little space that we carve out of cyberspace where we can write about our opinions and the things that matter to US. However, I think that my background in journalism does give me the ability to be able to present information about Michael in a very balanced way and hopefully, that comes across. It’s what I strive for, anyway.

        I really was completely in the middle when I started researching Michael’s life and especially, things like the allegations. I formed my opinions and conclusions after many intensive weeks and months of researching everything I could find. So I don’t think my conclusions come from blind fan worship, but rather serious study of the facts.

        Most MJ bloggers are dedicated people who work hard at what they do-I daresay, much harder than the average yellow journalist whose interest in Michael is passing, at best.

        1. Raven said,

          “When I started this blog, my goal was to bring my journalism and scholarly background into play by presenting Michael and his life and art as a subject worthy of serious scholarly study.”

          “I think that my background in journalism does give me the ability to be able to present information about Michael in a very balanced way and hopefully, that comes across. It’s what I strive for, anyway.”

          I say this from the heart. Myself and numerous others believe you have achieved your goal and succeeded many times over in presenting a balanced view of a complex and interesting human being via your genuine journalistic skills despite any fan bias. In fact, you have tended to make note of any comments you have made that are presented with a strong fan bias. Not only do you show a great deal of knowledge about your subject but you’ve also presented your work with integrity. As a result, your work has a great deal of credibility. That’s why I and others keep coming back! Bravo and please keep doing what you’re doing!

          By the way, have you looked into ways that your work can be preserved in a more durable format? Is there a way to store the text and look of your blog on a DVD format perhaps? To me, an ideal situation would be to have this content stored in such a way that it can be accessed from electronic and bricks-and-mortar libraries on demand for free for years to come without the fear of a server going down. That would be fantastic!!…although I imagine there would be cost & time involved to make such a thing happen…:-( That said, preserving a quality blog such as this would be worth overcoming some road blocks…:-) Anyway, just a thought. Take care!

          1. After what happened to the site last year, I’ve been much more conscientious about the need to preserve everything in a permanent format. It’s easy to get complacent and to think that what we have on the internet is going to always be there. The old content from the previous incarnation of AFLB is still safe (everything was stored on the harddrive of our old server computer; it is still there but just a matter of getting it back online in a way that it can be accessed). I now keep backups and copies of everything, but nothing really beats good, old fashioned brick-and-mortar for permanence. A big factor for me these days is just having the extra time on hand to do all of these things; I’m doing well these days when I can carve out enough time to update the blog, but I do try to backup and copy everything that I can.

    3. Kris Heywood said,

      “What are Michael’s friends and fans doing to pass on the on-line legacy in a medium that withstands the passage of so many years?”

      I strongly echo this sentiment…:-) I hope others feel the same.

  15. Speaking about alleged girlfriends, who is the Sheila in that first video


    By the way, in his book Frank said MJ adored LMP and her kids.

    1. I have no idea. Didn’t that lady Flo say she was a friend of hers? Kind of funny that they used a Prince song for the video, lol.

  16. Yes, it’s what she said. Anyway, it’s interesting and I don’t think Flo wanted to reveal something about a secret girlfriend.

  17. Agree with you Fay Frank should not reveal all what he did, I’am sure Michael wouldn’t liked to read many things that he has written in his book. I wonder why to write about Michael if himself asked not to do it. Michael’d be crying reading Cashio to tell about his dependence, marijuana, dating and making out with fans, having occasional girlfriends being married man, his farting (if all of that is true).Furthermore to see Cashio saying how Michael married with his ex Lisa Marie Presley because of business reasons, Michael’s thinking about how it was a great story “the king of pop marries the King’s daughter” supporting to the evil media that destroid him with all its lies, it is a sad and pathetic act. Is not Cashio selling us a monster’s figure? A money machine. I don’t think Michael was as it, he was a human being with defects and that did many mistakes but not a monster.

  18. The first big mistake did Michael Jackson was to be cradling in diffents families instead to work in building his own. Michael was surrounded during all his life by people only thought on their own benefit satisfaction and enjoyment.

  19. Oh wow you are back, well you never went anywhere, i meant your blog is back. So happy to see again.:)x Thank you for the book review, i guess i was waiting for someone to give a unbiased honest take on the book before i went out and bought it. Whilst the girls are reading the book ‘Man in the music’ i may be able to sit and read this one on my own…!

    One question that has me wondering why on.Why does nearly every book written by a close friend of Michael’s go into the relationships michael had with lisa marie and debbie, do we really need to know if michael had sex with either, who is actually interested. I mean some things in a relationship of any sort should be kept between two people, ok, michael chose to tell Frank, has his friend, a friend who he trusted with that privacy.Personally i am not interested, same has michael’s children, michael loved them, they love their dad, that is all the world needed to know. I guess Frank may of done to stop speculation, the same has others.

    I’m more interested in the funny things they both got up to, pillow fights and things of that nature. Does this book share the friendship, the fun and laughs that comes with a friendship? Has anybody seen the clip where michael is in the casio home holding two babies, are they twins? They have a lovely head of hair! You can see the love in michael’s face whilst he holds them.

    @Raven- ‘What I think will eventually happen will be a revisionism of Michael’s public reputation and cultural legacy’- ‘I think future generations will come to see him as an innocent man who was unfairly persecuted and scapegoated by a judgemental society’…I know you are right, i only have to listen to my own children stand up for michael’s innocence to think if my children do this then the world’s children must be to. 🙂

    I never knew that michael may of done his own weekly talent show, i learnt something new whilst reading your great book review.

    Thank you,

    1. “I’m more interested in the funny things they both got up to, pillow fights and things of that nature. Does this book share the friendship, the fun and laughs that comes with a friendship?”

      Yes, there’s a lot of that. And of course, those were my favorite parts of the book.

    1. I don’t see where I took anything “out of context,” though. The parts of the review that are my opinion, I clearly state as my opinion, and acknowledged that as such. I don’t think that’s taking anything out of context; just being honest in my reactions. Everything I’ve mentioned here is in the book. Again, if I react negatively to something Frank wrote (and there were only a couple of issues that I questioned, out of the entire book)-well, that’s just my honest take on it. But to accuse someone of taking something out of context is implying an intent to deceive by not presenting the whole picture, so to speak. Again, I don’t think I’ve done that. I’m sure what he probably took issue to was when I questioned what he wrote about LMP and the selecting of Blanket’s mother, but like I said, that was just my honest thoughts on it. When you’ve heard as many conflicting stories I have, it naturally makes one suspicious. But I’ll just say to Frank, if you’re reading this, if you want to set anything straight, I’m a very open minded and fair person-and willing to listen. I’ll just say again I thought it was a beautiful book, and that its positive attributes far outweighed the few negative points I mentioned.

  20. But there is also another possibility, which is that Michael may have told Frank this after having become bitter over the breakup with Lisa; perhaps as a way of salvaging his own pride.

    I believe Michael told him this for the same reason he told him the Omer story, to not make him and his family jealous about the time he would be spending away from them… and the fact that his family had no idea about Lisa Marie’s presence in his life until August 1994, which was 2 months after he already married her (Frank says they only first heard when it was announced). Mike said in an interview with the Mirror in Sept 1994 that it was Lisa’s idea to make the announcement, Michael wanted to let people think whatever they wanted to think. Which makes it seem interesting because it sounds as if he also wanted the same to be true in his private life.

    In his book says as far as he knew he and Eddie were the only ones who were spending time with him, other than when he was recording music. We know Michael and Lisa were out and about from January 1994 on and that she had been to Neverland, Disneyland, and stayed in the Trump Towers together.

    Anyway, it’s just interesting how Michael kept his life compartmentalized. Other people in his private life knew Lisa and Michael were together (and on Lisa’s end), but there were some who only found things out when the rest of the world did. I’d imagine it had a lot to do with Frank’s age too.

    1. Oh and she’d also been to Vegas with him. Frank doesn’t seem privy to their relationship after the divorce too, where Lisa was spending time with him again and has since confirmed they were breaking up/getting back together for four more years.

      So this idea that it was staged just doesn’t seem right on any level, it seems more likely that Frank was just on the outside of that relationship. If it were, I’d imagine he would have wanted to be announcing it as soon as possible and he would’ve been the one doing that himself.

      I agree about this “Insider” problem that people in his life have where they alone believe they hold the truth to Michael’s life.

      This is why I much prefer information from people who had a certain distance to Michael, like bodyguards or people like Frank Dileo, or David Nordahl or others. Because it seems once someone gets too close to Michael they can no longer see Michael’s forest for their trees.

    2. Yes, and as I had mentioned before, compartmentalization actually becomes a major theme of the book. It was something they both had to learn to do-in a way, to even survive, let alone to have any kind of normalcy in their lives.

      It’s possible that, as you say, he was simply outside of a lot of that relationship.

  21. Upon reflection and reading others’ comments, I agree with one who said Cascio’s memory of events went through a “youthful” filter. Wasn’t Frank a young teen during LMP’s and Michael’s marriage? I would surmise that Michael did not let him into the details of his marriage or the “reasons” for it in the first place. I do recall pictures of Lisa with Michael after their divorce, reinforcing the theory of their on again, off again relationship of some sort 1996-1999. I still think Cascio’s book was basically an honest read, inserting “too much information” at times, but should be considered through the filter of his youthful memory.

  22. But at the same time the off/on relationship was more a relationship on Lisa’s part. She wanted to get back together, according to MJ, and would hang around his family a lot. While he had ‘closed off his heart’ at the idea of seriously get back together with her. Acccording to some insiders, and people working for him at the time, it was mostly sexual for MJ after the divorce and when Lisa realised he wouldn’t take her back that’s when she became bitter. This explains her behaviour from 2003 till his death when she was very bitter and mean towards him in interviews.

  23. What I enjoyed about Frank Cascio’s book were some specific details I haven’t seen elsewhere. For example, Michael owned a large painting by the nineteenth-century. artist Bouguereau, which hung in the New York townhouse they shared around 2000.

    Also, I loved Frank’s account of the “mind maps” he and Michael created as they rode around the south in a private bus. These were collages, made from pictures cut out from magazines, which reflected their hopes and dreams. I’m captivated to learn of Michael’s interest in the visual arts, his “extracurricular” activities, the things he liked to do in his “spare time,” etc.

    So to me, this news far outweighs any kind of infraction of privacy (not much information that I hadn’t already gleaned, anyway) that some readers might find in the book.

    As for future scholars, many writers have offered *interpretive* accounts of myriad aspects of Michael’s work and career, ranging from a reading of Michael’s physical transformations, through “Thriller” to his reception within a community of Brazillian “rent boys” to discussions of his (utopian) re-configurations of race, gender, and age. So I agree, Raven: “What I think will eventually happen will be a revisionism of Michael’s public reputation and cultural legacy.” I think it’s already underway. This kind of writing, too, will no doubt influence the biographies that will appear, and vice versa.

    Nobody can foretell the future, of course. But taking the long view, it may well be that what’s considered unusual or unorthodox behavior today—behavior for which Michael got so much flak—will become common practice in the coming decades.

    1. Yes, those are the sort of things for which I really enjoy reading accounts by people who knew him-that is, people who aren’t just trying to tear him down. I enjoy those little details and glimpses into his world, and I think most of us do, if we’re honest with ourselves.

      The mind maps was one of those unforgettable details. I read a comment recently where someone said Michael was a horrible role model to those boys. I just had to shake my head at such sad ignorance. Most of these kids have acknowledged what a great teacher, mentor, and inspiration he was; a very positive force in their lives. Unfortunately, these people are so set in their ways that books like this won’t do anything to change their minds. They will either ignore it, refuse to read it, or discredit it. The truth holds no interest for them.

      1. In some ways, he was a bad role model. He trashed a hotel room for the fun of it and encouraged the boys to do the same, he taught Frank to “flirt” with flight attendants (just what more women in the work place need, harassment), got high and did recreational drugs (while publicly pretending to be against such activities), and he took advantage of his celebrity status and had sex with impressionable fans. That last point in particular is something I find troubling, especially since he would criticize “groupies” — how about questioning his own behaviour and choices instead? And yes, there’s men and women out there capable of doing that, I don’t want to hear any sexist “he was just being a man” excuses. Forget “mindmaps” (which is something I was taught in public elementary school), this is not behaving as a great “mentor” to a boy/young man. This book has made me rethink Michael Jackson, but not in a positive way. I regret I wasted time feeling sorry for him. He was just another Hollywood phoney: say one thing to gain fans, while behaving another way behind close doors.

        1. You’re entitled to your opinion but I’m just going to take up issue with one thing here:

          “and he took advantage of his celebrity status and had sex with impressionable fans…”


          In all honesty, I think you’re blowing that aspect of the book way out of proportion as compared to what Frank actually wrote. Secondly, I don’t buy for one instant that this was any case of him taking advantage of his celebrity status OR of any “impressionable fans.” Those women knew exactly what they were doing, and whatever may or may not have taken place it was between consenting adults. This just goes back exactly to what I said about the double standard where Michael is concerned. You take someone like Prince (and I’m just naming him as an example) he can do that sort of thing all the time and no one questions it; no one raises an eyebrow. But let it be said about Michael Jackson and, OMG, everyone’s all of a sudden got their panties in a twist! Michael could have easily had hundreds of women a night, if it had been all about just taking advanatge of his celebrity status. But seriously, having a few, discreet flings with women whom I’m sure were MORE than willing, hardly in any shape, form, or fashion equates to “taking advanatge of his celebrity status and impressionable fans.” Even Frank never implies that in the book. For that matter, he never even says these were one-night stands; we don’t know what the true nature of these relationships were. They may well have been ongoing relationships; apparently, a few of them were.

          If you’ve read the book then you also know how much Frank talks about Michael’s shyness around women and how he would blush even talking about sex (and this was after they were both grown men!). That shy innocence we attribute to Michael,and his aversion to casual sex wasn’t an act. I think I made my point on that very clear, and so did Frank in the book. Michael wasn’t being a hypocrite when he spoke out against drugs or casual sex. This was how he really felt. But I just think he got too caught up in an ideal that he couldn’t always live up to-and maybe at some point he realized that. And after all those years of being under the yoke of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and then all those years of being so inhibited because of his own shyness, perhaps finally at some point he became liberated enough to allow himself a little adult enjoyment in his life, and all of a sudden…yep, OMG, everyone’s got their panties in a twist over it.

          Well, I have to say it. Some need to get their panties out of that twist, grow up, and get real. Michael Jackson WAS a man, not some eunich.

          As for the sort of pranks and juvenile horseplay kind of fun that Frank describes in the book (trashing the hotel room, flirting with flight attendants, etc) this is no different from what we’ve known about Michael all through the years-you can watch him in Private Home Movies and see him engaging in the exact, same kind of behavior- having food fights, and Super Soaker fights, etc. The sort of harmless fun stuff that Frank is describing in the book is no different from any of that. Michael always seemed like someone who would be a world of fun to be around, and all you have to do is watch PHM or read Frank’s book to understand why kids loved being around him. As for being a role model, I think all we have to do is look at his own kids as the best example of all. Frank acknowledges that some of Michael’s behavior wasn’t always the most mature or admirable for a man his age, but it’s clear that all of this is far outweighed by the positive influence that Michael had on his life. It seemed Michael had that rare ability to be all things to everyone-best friend, confidante, mentor, teacher. With kids, it seemed he could be like your best friend, or the big brother you wished you’d had-or, by turn, he could also be a firm disciplinarian and teacher demanding only the best from his pupils. In my life, I’ve always seen that the people who make the best parents, teachers and mentors for children are the ones who are indeed able to combine all of those qualities, and Michael was capable of doing that. Does that mean advocating the trashing of a hotel room? No. But I think it’s picayune and silly to focus on what was admittedly one isolated incident while ignoring the much bigger and far more important picture.

          Anyway this is not a point I wish to debate to infinitum. As I said from the get-go, this is not a book for anyone who has some idealized vision of who Michael was. But I think for for those of us who are interested in all facets of who he was, in all his complexity as a human being, it’s a very good book. I didn’t agree with everything he wrote or chose to include-and as can be seen, readers here have a very wide range of opinions on it. But it’s not as if the Michael we all know and love isn’t in there. He is. In abundance. There is absolutely nothing in this book that contradicts Michael as the sweet, funny, shy, generous, humble, loving, amazing humanitarian, artist, father, and person that we know and love. To be honest, I would have to question if anyone who would come away from the book feeling otherwise ever had much love or admiration for the man to start with. I mean seriously, how could anyone claiming to be a fan be THAT easily swayed just because of what’s written by one person in one book (a mostly positive book at that) when there is so much other, far worse trash out there that is written about him all the time? Why not just as easily be swayed by what Diane Dimond or Bob Jones or Ray Chandler has to say? I would say look at any of those books if you want to come away thinking Michael Jackson was such a horrible and hypocritical human being because they all do a much greater job of it than Frank Cascio’s book.

          1. Say it, Raven! I agree with you on all fronts. While I’ve not read Dimond’s pathetic book, I have read and enjoyed BOTH of Boteach’s books, and even Ian Halperin’s greatly exaggerated diatribe. There are grains of truth in many books. I come away with plausible impressions from all of the authors I’ve read so far. If what Frank’s revelations about Michael’s tendancy to “compartmentalize” are true, then you can catch a glimpse of truth from everyone who knew him.

          2. Raven, you’ve taken issue with more than “one thing” and your words read defensive of Jackson and dismissive of the points I brought up. I don’t find saying things like “grow up” constructive (and for the record, I am grown). If this is a book about a non-idealized image of Jackson, surely we can criticize him. I was indeed interested in all facets of who he was, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to agree with his actions. I’ll break down my response to your arguments:

            1. Having a supersoaker fight with water on one’s own property (as seen in the private home videos) is much different than trashing a hotel room (which is destroying property that does not belong to him) and encouraging mere children to do the same.

            2. “Michael Jackson WAS a man” is not a valid excuse nor does it simply make him “human”. There is plenty of humans (both men and women) who don’t behave this way. And yes I take issue equally with anyone doing this, Michael Jackson or Prince, celebrity or not. At the very least though, Prince is honest with his faults in this area. Jackson on the other hand would criticize groupies, meanwhile he was engaging with them. In his conversations with Rabbi Boteach he would denounce things like smoking weed and wanton women, meanwhile he himself was partaking in the same things he was disparaging others for. This isn’t just having an idealized self-image, it’s dishonesty. He should have been addressing his own actions, rather than present himself as somebody above all that.

            3. Frank does say Jackson engaged in sexual activities with fans. And to add to it, many of the fans around him were younger than him (e.g. [strictly as an example of age] Miss Joanna Thomae was born in 1983). When there’s an age difference, or a person with a higher status, let-alone combining the two, yes, that can make an individual impressionable. This is something Michael himself was aware of. Also, by saying “a few” were on-going relationships you also admit that some were not. Not to mention, he had relations with multiple women at the same time (while he was married) but according to Frank, Michael found this no big deal. Not something a young man needs to be surrounded with, and not an example of being a good role model.

            4. If he was doing these things in the late 90s/2000s, why wouldn’t he earlier as well? What makes you think Michael Jackson wasn’t having “adult fun” earlier in his life? He likely didn’t show that side of himself earlier, as Frank was only a child when they first met. The Jackson’s aren’t strict Jehovah’s witnesses. Katherine let Jackie Jackson’s girlfriend live with him for years before they married, Janet lost her virginity at 16 (yet had no problem singing songs like “Let’s Wait A While”), we all know Jermaine’s exploits, etc.. Regarding Michael:

            Marlon Jackson, Magic/Madness, 1991: “I remember back in the early days, Michael was something to keep up with where the girls were concerned. Believe me, Michael ain’t no virgin. No way.”

            Susie Jackson, Magic/Madness, 1991: “I remember that his brothers used to tell us these wild stories about how they used to go out and get girls and bring them back to the hotel room for Michael,” Susie Jackson said. “Then Michael would supposedly have sex with these girls.”

            He supposedly got drunk with David Gest. Mark Mothersbaugh said Michael passed him a joint/angel dust at Studio 54 back in the 70s ( (Meanwhile during this time period Michael gave several interviews where he would talk of how he thought fans would think he was on drugs because his eyes were red from the make up from The Wiz but he’d go out of his way to tell these fans it wasn’t because he was doing any drugs.) Apparently a producer called Artie called into Wendy Williams radio show, stated that he believes that MJ was not telling the truth when in the Bashir interview when Michael said he did not have many girlfriends. Art remembered a time when a member of Sister Sledge told a story about a time when her sisters and the brothers, including Michael, were hanging out and talking. All of the brothers, including Michael, would brag about the many girlfriends that they would have. Mike told them that he had a girlfriend in Altanta and even in Philadelphia. There’s been stories of him with groupies in the 80s. I previously chalked this stuff up as trash, but given what Frank has divulged I can no longer turn a blind eye to it. Information Frank gave in his book correlates with a lot of other stories. While I don’t think all of them are true, you can read some of these stories over at LSA ( While I never thought he was an angel, I had previously respected what I thought was Michael’s clean lifestyle. Frank’s book causes me to rethink that, especially when you consider how Frank said Michael compartmentalized his life.

            I can verify with facts and evidence from the trial that stories from Diane Dimond, Bob Jones, or Ray Chandler are untrue. That’s a major difference. I didn’t say I was swayed to thinking he was a “horrible person” (and I don’t think he was a horrible person) I said “in *some* ways, he was a bad role model” and gave examples to substantiate that. As said in a previous blog entry here, Jackson wasn’t actually “childlike” it was just a personae as he knew it would win him over to fans. So as I said earlier, I regret feeling sorry for him. I still respect his discipline to his art and I appreciate his humanitarian work. But I also recognize Jackson was able, in part, to gain the money to be an “amazing humanitarian” by presenting a false image to the public. He was conscious of wanting to have a legacy and be adored by the public. He knew what he was doing. He played the game. Finally, let’s not do the whole “true fan” nonsense (which I never “claimed” one way or another, as you wrote, so I don’t know why you’re bringing that up). Regardless of who a person is, and if I like them or what they do, I’m not going to tune out poor behavior.

          3. Fair points, I suppose. I’ll also concede that your arguement has more to do with being a role model, per se, than a judgement of character. It’s just that those things don’t make him less interesting or less likeable to me. In fact, it makes him more interesting because it just adds to the intrigue of who he really was. Nice guy or bad boy? Or maybe a little of both. I’ve often said that maybe Michael should have been more open and honest about this aspect of his life because maybe if he had people wouldn’t have thought he was so “strange” or “gay” or worse yet, a pedophile. But I also think he didn’t want to cheapen his image (I mean really, does the world need one more stage-humping, skirt-chasing man whore, as if we don’t have enough of those already?). As I said, he obviously didn’t want to be that, nor perceived as that. What we know otherwise has come from…well, those willing to talk too much. Which is exactly why some take issue with confidantes like Frank spilling everything-and I understand that. But to this day there are still people absolutely convinced that he was an asexual or had some sort of weird sexual hang-up or was gay or a pedophile all because his heterosexual affairs were kept so securely under wraps. I think that dispelling the asexual myth is an important part of understanding who he really was-that has always been my position.

            My absolute honest take on it is that I don’t think he was so much dishonest or hypocritical as simply conflicted, and I stand firmly behind that. If that was one of his human flaws, so be it. Human flaws aren’t supposed to be admirable; they are what they are. I disagree with some of his views as well; for example, Michael and I would have probably butted heads over some of his views on women and a woman’s place in marriage and other issues. So this isn’t about defending all of his words and actions as perfect because they weren’t. (But that being said, its not my purpose here to tear his character down, either; there are plenty of other places for that).

            He put a lot of those conflicted emotions about women and lust into songs like Dangerous, In The Closet, Dirty Diana, Blood On The Dance Floor, etc. Those songs are all coming from the same place-someone who knows the sting of lust, but is also well aware of moral consequences and the wages of sin. In those songs, the protagonist is always facing a moral dilemma and having to weigh the consequences of his actions. Since Michael always chose to speak through his art, in a way, you could say those songs WERE his outlet for questioning his own choices and behaviors. And I think that for Michael, those songs came from a very real place deep inside of him. It wasn’t an act.

            I’m not disputing the validity of your opinion or position, but I just think it’s a lot more complex than simply being about “poor behavior.” We’re just coming from a very different perspective because what you find offensive, I happen to find intriguing and interesting. So on that we’ll just have to agree to disagree

          4. Late reply, but I still wan’t to respond…

            My point was about him being a “bad role model in some ways” not about being “less interesting” or “less likeable”. If you want to discuss that though, one could consider that it does. Hollywood stories regarding people who will say (or sing) certain things to make themselves look good and appease the public are a dime a dozen (and there’s already several proven stories in regards to that and the Jackson family). There’s nothing new or interesting to me about it. The phoniness of show business is well documented, and this just seems to be more of the same, in regards to his persona versus his true actions.

            You wrote: “But I also think he didn’t want to cheapen his image (I mean really, does the world need one more stage-humping, skirt-chasing man whore, as if we don’t have enough of those already?)” You state you think he didn’t want to “cheapen his image” but he did publicly do stage/ground humping and skirt-chasing (TWYMMF for example). And there’s nothing inherently wrong with exploring sexuality through one’s work. I don’t necessarily view sex itself, or performing about it, as something “sinful”. But deceit is something I take seriously. And I view lying about how you really behave while criticizing others for the very things you yourself partake in as poor behavior. In his conversations with Rabbi Boteach he would criticize other artists who would behave that way, but he was doing the same thing, and yet he never pointed his finger at himself. I agree with you that he didn’t want to be portrayed that way, but beyond lyrics (which as we know, people can say anything to make themselves look good) what makes you think he felt conflict behaving that way? Especially if it was ongoing. According to what Frank has implied he was having relations with several women at the same time. There’s been stories posted/gathered at LSA of him doing the same when younger (again, I previously dismissed this as trash, but given how it correlates with what Frank wrote I have to rethink their plausibility) — meanwhile he’d give interviews about never dating/going to parties/not doing drugs. So there is discrepancies and it does make it difficult to know for certain what Jackson was telling the truth about. If you were one of the women he was playing/two-timing/cheating on would you still find it “intriguing” or “likeable”? Likewise, in his songs he would blame the women for coming on to men, but he doesn’t address his own actions.

            There’s been many who bought into his whole adhering to traditional values act (including the President apparently: which, as it turns out, he was not adhering to. There’s been fans who have put their own neck and money on the line defending him as “childlike” during the allegations. I’ve never seen it verified, but apparently several fans committed suicide when it was announced MJ died. While I’m sure they had seriously problems beyond Michael if they were to do that, I wonder if they wouldn’t have done that if they hadn’t believed him to be some ‘innocent’? I think the repercussions of the image he portrayed, his influence on others (since he publicly cultivated a childlike image), and his true actions as notable to explore.

            You wrote: “Which is exactly why some take issue with confidantes like Frank spilling everything-and I understand that.” In response, I have never stated I had a problem with Frank’s book. It’s Michael actions I am assessing. Whether Frank was right or wrong to write a book is a topic that has been irrelevant to my comments. To discuss if what he revealed helps Jackson, I can’t say. I don’t view a-sexuality, or even homosexuality for that matter, as something that needs to be cleared up as it doesn’t prove his innocence regarding the allegations. (When Jackson himself was asked by Bashir if he was gay, on the record he chose not to answer that question). There is many of cases of grown men, with a normal wife and family, who have still engaged in improper behaviour (to put it mildly) with youngsters. It’s often repeated that causes of rape/molestation aren’t about attraction, but feelings of power. His own, at-the-time wife, went on national television and said they had sex, and it still didn’t put the allegations to rest. What does help is getting the facts out about both allegations, with legal documents/verifiable sources to back up claims. The VindicateMJ blog does a good job of this. That said, I agree he should have been more forthcoming about his real self. I could at least respect his honesty.

            Again, I will say this doesn’t change my respect for his dedication to his work. That is a good thing and I praise him for it. I don’t particularly want to think the worst about the man (I’m not trying to tear down his character), but Frank’s book makes me pause and raises questions about what Jackson’s true character really was. Assumptions (even in Michael’s favour), beliefs, and rose-coloured glasses should be thrown out the window, to gain a true idea of who he was. Ultimately we can agree to disagree if you like. I do appreciate you posting/approving my comments.

          5. You wrote: “But I also think he didn’t want to cheapen his image (I mean really, does the world need one more stage-humping, skirt-chasing man whore, as if we don’t have enough of those already?)” You state you think he didn’t want to “cheapen his image” but he did publicly do stage/ground humping and skirt-chasing (TWYMMF for example).

            LOL, I had to smile as I read this part. TWYMMF! Yeah, I guess you got me on that one. Not only does he hump the ground in that video, but even makes it into a fully choreographed part of the dance! Of course, that storyline is all about “The Chase,” the cat-and-mouse game between a woman and a man. I would say it’s more flirtatious and playful than anything, and I always sort of felt like that video was just Michael keeping up with the times (the 80’s probably being the most sexist era ever when it came to guys chasing girls in videos).

          6. I was reading the conversation and then I saw this from S.W.:

            “According to what Frank has implied he was having relations with several women at the same time. There’s been stories posted/gathered at LSA of him doing the same when younger (again, I previously dismissed this as trash, but given how it correlates with what Frank wrote I have to rethink their plausibility) — meanwhile he’d give interviews about never dating/going to parties/not doing drugs. So there is discrepancies and it does make it difficult to know for certain what Jackson was telling the truth about.”

            He could of lied through his teeth his whole life to fans and everyone else if he wanted to but, I don’t believe he did. He would have been found out sooner or later because one of those women would of came out. I wouldn’t choose Frank’s fictional version of things and LSA postings over Michael’s own words.

          7. Raven, I have to agree with S.W. I did not for a moment ever feel MJ was angel. But to have a few discrete flings with fans is more forgiving than to have many? Really, what is the difference, how many times? That does not prove someone’s manhood or humanity either. If these stories told by Frank are indeed truthful, they completely contradict whom Michael said he was. In the Rabbi Schmuley tapes and interviews, Michael specifically states, that he only liked women who were classy and quiet and “not into the sex and the craziness, because he is not into that.” He also goes on to say that he believes that love is pure and that he could not understand and was shocked by how people did vulgar things with their bodies.
            These interviews with the Rabbi were made when he was about 42 years old as well, so it’s not like he would change his moral beliefs much after this point. So quite honestly, Michael was hypocritical and dishonest if he did indeed engage in sexual relations with any fans or random women, and yes even if there were only a few. And another thing, how would he chose which fans he wanted to be with in an intimate way? I just feel this shows that he had a true lack of respect for women, which I find very discomforting as a woman.
            If you read the newly published book, “Defending A King” by Dr. K. Moriarty, you will read similar stories from many people that were close to him, that he had two girlfriends at the same time, for years.

          8. @JS:

            “These interviews with the Rabbi were made when he was about 42 years old as well, so it’s not like he would change his moral beliefs much after this point.”

            It is quite possible that he could change his moral beliefs in his middle or late 40s in his life.

            Actually, anybody could, even later than that in one’s life, especially after going through something like the 2003-2005 trial, I suppose …

  24. Hello Raven,

    Thanks for this review. I agree that the positive outweighs the negative in Frank’s book, and that overall it was a worthwhile read.

    It’s wonderful to see you back here. You were missed!

  25. Martha says:
    January 14, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Raven, I give this book a thumbs down. I read it open mindedly, did not have an idealized image of Michael, but I think I understand love and friendship. I feel it was a betrayal for profit. When will the fans realize they can also be exploited? I have read countless opinions of this book, but my own opinion has only grown stronger, and I wish Mr. Cascio had tried to work out his personal issues with Michael in private rather than in this book.
    Chris says:
    January 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm
    The first big mistake did Michael Jackson was to be cradling in diffents families instead to work in building his own. Michael was surrounded during all his life by people only thought on their own benefit satisfaction and enjoyment.
    Exactly how I felt about the book. Frank has issues; the book was not the place to work them out. He’s obsessed with Michael but, there’s no surprise there. The family let Michael show up whenever he felt like it and woke their children up to see him. The family spends major dollars to move to a better school district only to take the kids out of school so they could tour with a man they did not know that well. The family and Michael had good times but, Michael paid for it all. They lucked out that Michael wasn’t the kind of guy who would hurt them and their children. Instead, he was good to them and this is what he gets in return.

    Ladypurr says:
    January 9, 2012 at 9:49 am
    He wouldn’t be a man if he could resist the pursuits of desirable, adoring women.
    Shame on you. That doesn’t sound very nice.

    Like the other posts say, you have to put in certain things or your book doesn’t get published. Frank doesn’t know if Michael made out with fans. He didn’t even know he was married. TWICE! One chapter Michael is against casual sex but, the next he’s getting lucky with fans. What caused the change? The pot? Heavier drugs?

    I don’t see how the “bodyguards” will do better. Frank was Michael’s employee and so were they. Michael “compartmentalized” everything so why would he show his inner most feelings to his employees?

    Fans shouldn’t be so gullible!

    1. I really think the inconsistencies were in keeping with Michael’s own character. As I wrote, it is very conceivable for me to believe that he had certain, very strong ideals but maybe in life didn’t always live up to them. I don’t think that makes him a bad person-just human. Also, it’s very possible that as he got older he became more liberated in certain aspects of his life (this is a belief I’ve always held, anyway). So I don’t necessarily fault Frank if it appears at times that he’s presenting an inconsistent view of who Michael was.

      And in all fairness, I want to stress that when Frank claims Michael had a few encounters with fans, it wasn’t as if this was something he routinely engaged in-like most of these pop and rock musicians that you hear about. I realize maybe saying it was a few as opposed to several hundred still doesn’t necessarily make it right, but I think when you compare Michael overall to most male artists with such a massive female following, it does say a lot about his character that he didn’t just go around taking advantage of every opportunity flung his way, even though I’m sure he easily could have if he’d wanted to.

      Frank was Michael’s employee but maybe we shouldn’t forget that long before that, he was also a family friend; thus, I think this would somewhat change the dynamic of their relationship from just that of an employer/employee, even though Frank says this was another area of his life that had to become compartmentalized, for obvious reasons (he couldn’t let his personal relationship with Michael interfere with his professional one).

      I do agree that fans shouldn’t be so gullible as to just accept everything that’s written in a book. That’s what’s wrong now with our media/tabloid-drenched society; people being gullible enough to believe everything they hear, or read. It’s good to be a critical thinker and make up one’s own mind.

      Like I said, the review is just my take on the book. Every reader, of course, will draw their own conclusions.

      1. Friendships have different levels from mere “hello, how are you” to likeable, to love. You have to ask MICHAEL what level Frank and his family fall. They could have easily been people Michael liked to hang around but, knew better than to tell everything to(I think that is obvious here). The Cascios showed absolutely no boundaries in their friendship with Michael; they made theirselves available to his beck and call 24/7. I can see why Michael would like that and keep them around.

        As far as Michael getting lucky with fans, where are these fans and why haven’t they or anyone they know spoken out?? If they got lucky, they are groupies and Michael sang about how he felt about his own groupie fans in Dirty Diana. He didn’t like them.

        Not sure how much people know about female groupies but, they don’t keep secrets about who they are with and what they’ve done. I’m supposed to believe that Michael’s groupie fans don’t tell anyone anything because Michael asked them to? That’s not how the groupie game works.

        You know how jealous females get. I’m supposed to believe if Michael picks one fan and not the other, the other fan isn’t jealous and also agrees to keep the secret too? I don’t buy that.

        The only reason we are talking about it is because of Frank; not even one of the girls! I’m not even going to talk about Emily because she sounds even more made up than the groupie fans. Michael could have changed his Dirty Diana tune later in life and those women would STILL say something to someone.

        I don’t like how fans are giving this man a pass. The only way I know about ‘Michael the man’ is because of Frank’s book? That’s how the book was promoted and now fans are just repeating the selling point. If Jermaine wrote what Frank did, would fans feel the same way?

        Raven, have you read Jeramine’s book and reviewed it? I would like to know what you thought of that and how it compared to Frank’s.

        1. I haven’t had a chance to read Jermaine’s book yet. The only reason I was able to read Frank’s is because I got it for Christmas (too poor right now to splurge much on books, lol). I would like to read it, and maybe I’ll get to soon.

          As for the ladies, I think over the years quite a few have come out, or tried to, but people tend to discredit their stories. Joanna Thomae, for example, comes to mind. I’ve seen some of the really nasty comments that fans have left on Youtube and other forums about her. If these women speak out, they’re deluged with hate comments and called liars; if they DON’T speak out, then people say, “Well, where are these women?” You can see how that’s a no-win. Joanna Thomae and some of those others may be liars, but then again, if people insist on discrediting every woman who tries to tell her story, then you can see where that leads…an endless circle.

        2. Just wanted to say that the “peace pipe” part was not meant to offend. Michael’s father is part Native so that make all of his children, including Michael, part Native. Of course it doesn’t mean he was raised with Native traditions as most part Natives aren’t. Obviously, Michael was raised in the African American tradition.

          In Jermaine’s book, Michael and his family met Bob Marley; who would know quite alot about joints and how they “open the mind.” He said they could smell it the whole time! How could Michael hear it for the first time from Barry Gibb and received his first joint from Frank! Doesn’t make sense! They found molded marijuana in Michael’s home when he died. Surely that wasn’t Frank’s stash (that the cops never found supposedly) from Neverland!

          Raven, thanks for listening but, the book made me angry.

          1. The marijuana found at the Holmby house, I’m sure, was Michael’s own. At Neverland it was always conceivable to believe that anything found could belong to others because of the sheer number of employees and people in and out of the house. But by the time he was living at the Carolwood house, he was living a much simpler, more stripped down and more secure lifestyle-not a lot of hangers-on or people in and out of the house. I was actually surprised that the media didn’t run with that story. After it came out in the trial testimony, I was fully expecting a media blizkrieg. But I guess even they realized how ridiculous they would make themselves look if they made a huge deal over a few ounces of grass.

            The Bob Marley story is a good example of exactly why I find it hard to believe that Michael could have been so innocent when it came to drugs. That doesn’t mean he partook, necessarily. But having been practically raised in the music business, and surrounded by musicians and those involved in the business, you know he had to have seen a lot. As a child, he might have been somewhat sheltered from a good bit of it, but I doubt he was sheltered that much. But I did think it was kind of funny that someone who had worked for so many years with people like Slash, Eddie Van Halen, Freddie Mercury, etc, etc, would then supposedly get turned on to marijuana from…Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees! Lol.

    2. I agree with you. There are some inconsistencies found in Frank’s book. Well, I don’t think Michael is a perfect being, so I understand he can make mistakes and stuff, but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t ‘consistently lie’ about his view and attitude just to keep his clean images for public and fans. Having affair with fan girl itself is not a bad thing if that is based on real love, but if it was just for pleasure that’s considered ‘casual sex’ and some of love relationships of Michael that Frank described definitely fell into this ‘casual sex’ category. But I am not sure Michael would do that…I don’t think I would believe that part of story. It sounds sensationalism to me…

      1. For myself personally, I have always been more interested in the “humanized” Michael Jackson than the idealized version of him. I do realize, of course, that this image is what has attracted many to him, and sometimes that can be a little upsetting or disconcerting when that humanized version doesn’t always measure up to the man we thought he was. I don’t think the image was a lie, and I don’t think of Michael in any shape, form or fashion as a hypocrite even if he did some of the stuff Frank describes. I think it has more to do with the fact that Michael had an ideal-in fact, many ideals-that he was striving to live up to. If he sometimes fell a little short, that just means he was human.

        Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

        1. For myself personally, I have always been more interested in the “humanized” Michael Jackson than the idealized version of him. I do realize, of course, that this image is what has attracted many to him, and sometimes that can be a little upsetting or disconcerting when that humanized version doesn’t always measure up to the man we thought he was. I don’t think the image was a lie, and I don’t think of Michael in any shape, form or fashion as a hypocrite even if he did some of the stuff Frank describes. I think it has more to do with the fact that Michael had an ideal-in fact, many ideals-that he was striving to live up to. If he sometimes fell a little short, that just means he was human.

          First of all thank you for your comments and review, I really appreciate your considerate review on Frank’s book. ’cause I saw fans say this and that and goes on to serious debate(which is fine to me but anyways) about this book. It’s really nice to see well-balanced review of different perspective from me. Personally, I’m interested in both sides of Michael, and well, even though Frank’s book is 100% true, I wouldn’t be like ‘I’m soooooooo dissapointed I’m not a fan of Michael anymore!!’ or something. (That’s ridiculous!) I still think he’s one of the kindest person that I have seen in my life. And well, it’s his privacy, and he suffered too much from so many stupidities and cruelties that I cannot even imagine the whole. And plus I think Frank wrote about this to kind of emphasize Michael’s ‘normality’ as a man. Michael is a human being. He can make mistakes, fall into temptation and everything. But, my opinion was that I just found some of Frank’s description a bit off from Michael’s usual attitude or saying or way of thinking I might say. and sometimes I found some inconsistencies in that too. It’s just my personal opinion and I hope you are not offended. I respect and understand your opinion as well. Again, thank you for your comment and all. I really enjoyed reading it.

  26. I really enjoyed reading Frank’s book. It was such an open invitation into Michael’s life as just a MAN, versus his persona,the King of Pop. I laughed out loud many times. (loved the story of Michael prank calling Eddie’s Soccer coach late at night and constantly referring to the Coach as ‘buddy’) Not so sure why I found this particular story so funny, considering all the other hilarious stories, most being the ones you already mentioned. But, I could just imagine how funny this had to have been to the boys. By reading this book, I learned what an amazing sense of humor Michael had. I found it to be so endearing and it just made me fall in love with him all over again. But,I also found so many aspects of the book to be very opened ended. For example, I was intrigued about the story about Omer Bhatti. According to Frank, Michael was adamant of having Frank believe he was telling the truth that Omer was, in fact, his son! The mere fact that Frank even brings this up in his book, makes the reader have to draw their own conclusions. He ends up resolving this issue by stating Michael untimely told him the story was not true, but Frank also gives his own opinion about Omer’s DNA. You have to wonder if Michael was just afraid to reveal the ultimate truth to Frank because of the possible repercussions later. Of course, there is much speculation that Omer is MJ’s biological son, and frankly, I am not completely convinced that he is NOT. I guess this is something we may never know, and truthfully it is is none of OUR business, but if it came up in Frank’s book, it has to make you wonder, what made him even bring this up?

    1. Some theorize that the whole “love child” story was invented to keep down another scandal. I don’t buy it because Michael was still around the Cascio boys and others at this time just as much as Omer so why the need to single out one to invent such a story?

      I’ve also heard that he left a pretty sizeable trust fund to Omer. Did he do that for others? I don’t know.

      Omer always seemed to be in the picture from the mid-90’s on, but then, so were Frank and Eddie (so we can’t draw conclusions just from that).

      I know some who say Omer was his son but I take it with a grain of salt. I have no proof so I’m not going to go around speculating things I don’t know as “fact.”

      Omer called him “Daddy” just as Prince, Paris and Blanket did. But maybe a lot of the kids did that, if he was a father figure to them. I know there’s a video where Michael and Omer are vacationing together and he calls him “Daddy.” I’ll see if I can find it and post it here.

      It’s something I’ve always kept an open mind about although I don’t know. I know we like to believe Michael was always 100% honest with us but sometimes there are very legit reasons why some things may have been kept private.

      At the very least, my guess is that Michael sort of unofficially ‘adopted” Omer as his son-a guess that may come nearer to the truth. It makes sense for someone who was so desperate at the time to have a child of his own. I think he looked upon the kids of all these families he knew as being like his extended family.

      1. Michael’s trust was on the internet and he left any available monies to 3T and 3 of his cousins on his father’s side, after his mother and children. No money was left to Omer.

        Gavin Arvisio also called Michael daddy and Michael had three of his own kids by then.

        1. The difference with Gavin, though, is that he didn’t like him doing it and didn’t encourage it. That whole family took it upon themselves to call him “Daddy”-their sugar daddy, that is.

    1. This is very interesting. I wonder if the itinerary changed? If not, it definitely makes one wonder. I have planned to do a story on this at some point. I remember that particular episode very well. Everyone was wondering, “Where is Michael Jackson?” I remember CNN showing a map of Europe and they had all these dots on it, trying to pinpoint his exact location. It was the big headline of that time-Michael was literally MIA!

  27. I found someone who sold a ticket for a Dangerous tour concert in Puerto Rico and the date is November 9th, which was the date of a concert in Mexico.

  28. If you plan to do a story on the Dangerous tour, I think it would be interesting to say that MJ never spend 365 nights alone with Barnes, let alone 460 nights like some haters say. The Dangerous tour is 3 months in Europe and a month and a hlaf in South America and MJ was travelling with the Cascios and Barnes, as you can see in thosse pictures taken in 1993

    1. That story is just more hater propaganda BS. If I do the story on Michael’s “disappearance” it will definitely involve looking closer into that aspect of the Dangerous tour, and what happened. I’m still curious about how/why those dates were changed for the shows in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

  29. The interesting point is, according to different articles from 1993, the concert in Puerto Rico was rescheduled for November 12th and the Venezuela concerts were rescheduled for a week later.

    1. Hi D Gorgo. Sorry, comments aren’t posted automatically. They are held in que until approved, unless it’s someone who has posted before and using the same email as previously.

  30. Yes -first he was teenager-and could not had any understanding regarding relationship of grown-up person-I the last person who can be called advocate of LMP whom I disrespect for her 2003 interviews-but sorry-frank was 13 when Michael married her-how can he now write about that marriage-what kid can understand? he himself wrote that he was some kind of jealous-it syndrome of all people who was in Michael life-then when someone took their place or Michael “iced them out”-we had Jordy chandler or Gavin or bitter ex wife LMP or bitter exe-employers who sue and made awful interviews with lies about Michael-after such fall from grace these people could not to make some kind of revenge to Michael-it their bitter jealousy and ambitions-only Debbie seems to be normal and honest and loyal-when I had read her 2003 trial testimonial I cried-she obviously loved and protected MJ very much with clear heart-too bad that because of intrigues they stopped to communicate and stopped to be friends -bad people very frequency had big part in Michael life-but alas-few honest decent people he had met-many of them were out of his life-
    With such family as he had no wonder that he tried to search for some substitute- for “surrogate family” but everyone used him for one way or other and Casios are not an exception-they made careers and money and this 90% fake or poorly produced tracks at MICHAEL album-how fans can buy it-and he what is his worst sin-protect Sony in situation of their conflict with MJ at 2001 and even calling MJ in his book paranoid…Paranoid?! He was murdered so maybe he was not paranoid regarding own security and conspiracies against him?!
    I’d wish he was more “paranoid’ and protected his life better…
    it is FACT that they boycotted Invincible and it is FACT we learned from 2003 trial that they provided Sneddon with documents necessary for his crazy theory that MJ was broke that why he wanted to take away Arvisos to brazil etc-all this bullshit we all know but some ”fans” seems to forget easily…
    that one more important aspect-I hate gossips but I feel the need to mention few things regarding very delicate matter Frank dared to raise-Michael’s private life. I already notices that people tend to put THEIR FAULTS, THEIR ISSUES, THEIR SINS on Michael-from ridiculous claims of David Guest who blame Michael on own excessive and unsuccessful use of plastic surgery-to Casio claims that Michael had occasional sex with own fans. Well I know otherwise that it Francesco as well as other people somehow tied with Michael or Jacksons family generally (Majestic Magnificent etc )-used or tried to use his fans this way…
    So ,guys ,maybe –better to look at the man in the mirror?!


    What happened? i thought Frank was considered to be brought in by T-Mez but then he wasn’t needed.

    1. I would need to look at that section in the book again to refresh my memory, but as best I recall, Michael resented the fact that Frank didn’t speak up for him at the trial, even though Frank said the reason he didn’t was on the advice of Tom Mesereau.

      1. It seems that Frank was afraid he would end up in jail in the 05 trial due to being named as a co-conspirator. He got ‘lawyered up’ as did the other co-conspirators, and he followed his lawyer’s advice, which was do not testify and stay away from Michael. This was understandably hard for Michael to accept as Frank had been in the bedroom when Gavin was also in Michael’s bedroom, so he knew nothing had gone on. Mesereau says that Frank did not say ‘I’ll do whatever you want’ as far as doing what the defense needed. However, Mesereau did say that ‘in the end’ Frank was ‘willing to testify.’ He says this twice. This is in an interview. I will try and find the link, b/c this is so important for the strained relationship between Michael and Frank. Michael did feel that Frank had left him alone without defending him, when Michael faced 22 years if convicted in jail, separated from his children, and was going through hell on earth with anxiety about all this. At this time, Frank was protecting his own skin and listening to his lawyer rather than being a friend who would risk his own safety. MacCauly Culkin, in contast, did testify even though he was urged not to do so, b/c it would not be good for his career. He took a stand. I do not admire Frank for not being willing to testify from the get-go.

        1. That was sad, especially because I don’t think Michael fully understood at the time why Frank didn’t appear to be standing behind him.

          1. This is confusing b/c Shelly says : “Look at the Arvizo’s story. He claimed that he slept with MJ & Gavin & Star in the same bedroom after the bashir interview when in fact it happened 3 years before. He is not lying there, but he is mixing the date. If it can’t remember very well what happened in 2003 how do you expect him to have a clear memory of what happened in 1993?”

            I am wondering now what actually took place and was Frank sleeping with Michael when Gavin was there? If Frank makes such a big mistake as Shelly suggests–wow–that is hard to accept. Or did MJ never sleep in the same room with Gavin after the time he and Frank were there together?

          2. In the book, Frank says that Michael asked him to be there as a potential witness. When the kids had begged to sleep in his room, the only way Michael would agree to it was if Frank or another adult was also present-not in the same bed, of course, but in the room.

  32. Posted by claudia:

    Raven, I just want to know did you read Franco’s books? Did you find big lie when he talk about 1993′s case? I

    1. Specify? I’m not sure what you are referring to exactly, without going back to the book. I know there has been some discrepancy involving the timeline he gave for the Dangerous tour itenary and Michael’s check in to rehab (Frank, as you know, stated that the next stop was Puerto Rico and Michael was afraid of being arrested there, as it is US territory; however, some have disputed this, saying that the next stop at the time the entire tour was cancelled was Venezuala, not Puerto Rico).

      It’s a bit off topic to this post, so I will probably move this to the review of Frank Cascio’s book.

  33. Posted by claudia:

    In the beginning of Six chapter Franco writing:

    【Thanksgiving break】 was beginning, so my parents gave the【okay and Wayne brought me and Eddie to London 【for four or five days.】

    【The settlement was in the works before we arrived in England, and it was finalized while we were there. Michael was now free to return to the United States,】 and he was eager to come home. 【So, after only two days in London】, Eddie and I joined Michael on a private jet to Neverland to finish our visit there.


    Thanksgiving 1993 is Noe.25,1993
    Michael real returns at Dce.10.1993

    Dec 20,1993 happen one thing that the most humiliating experience of a lifetime for Michael. I think you didn’t forget it.

    In FACT The settlement was finalized Jan 24,1994,and it was a Civil settlement not was A Criminal settlement, Criminal never been settlement

    In fact the criminal investigation continues untill aug,1994.

    Michael never been Criminal prosecution,because Snedden only have a Plaintiff,didn’t found any Witnesses

    by the way in this past (Franco writing) he hear Mj and his lawyer who lawyer Johnnie Cochran talk about the detail of settlement,I don’t think it was real happen.
    I think it happend after Dec.20 1993.

    but in this story some things is trues
    one this ,Franco brothers real with Michael back U.S. in Dec.10 1993
    another things before Michael return he received a call from Johnnie Cochran

    My poor English I hope you will understand my said .
    I like your Blog , although it is very hard for me to read it

    1. I apologize that I did not get a chance to get back with you sooner. I went back and read the chapter, and also the comments here. I agree with shelley; most likely, Frank is relating things as he remembered them. He was a nine year old kid at the time. Cochran did have a huge hand in talking Michael into agreeing on the settlement, and most likely, as shelley said, those talks would have been over a period of time, beginning in London. Frank seems to be acknowledging here that it was a combined pressure from both Cochran and the insurance company.

      I don’t think he lied, though there are some dicrepencies that may be attributable to his age at the time.

  34. I don’t think it’s a lie, it’s just the way Cascio remember it. Johnny Cochran said himself he spoke several times to MJ when he was in London. I don’t believe there was only one agreement written. I believe there were probably several proposals made before the agreement.

    1. I said lie important is this:
      [The settlement) was finalized while we were there
      Michael was now free to return to the United States!]

    2. I know Johnny Cochran called Michael when he in Europe. I just wonder they will discuss the details for settlement.
      There are several reasons:

      Johnny Cochran just become michael’s lawyer, or even just been introduced to michael. I do not believe they will discuss the settlement details. We all know that, even until the last michael refused to the settlement. The settlement is the insurance companies forced .
      Johnny Cochran become michael’s lawyer will not be earlier than Nov.23,1993


      Branca said , “(Jackson) changed his mind about [taking the case to trial] when he returned to this country. He hadn’t seen the massive coverage and how hostile it was. He just wanted the whole thing to go away.”(Did Michael Do It? (GQ, October 1994))
      Yeah,I know Branca did not tell the all of truth.(is not michael ,is insurance choice )
      In fact, I always feel a little strange Why Mj lawyers in this case, often speaking a cause is not conducive to MJ, or even lie? Of course, this is another topic, not here to discuss in detail.


    1. Thanks your link. I found new timeline:

      Dec.1 1993: Johnnie Cochra received call from Neil Papiano and then he received a call from Taylor

      Dec.3 1993 (the following friday): Johnnie Cochra arrived Taylor’s house, “I want you to represent Michael”,Taylor said

      (and same day “On December 3 a letter, signed by Michael,was sent to Fields ousting him as chief of the civil case.(The king of Pop’s Darkest Hour))

      Dec.4 1993 (early the next moring) : Johnnie Cochra received a call from Michael. This is their first talk.

      (Dec.10 1993 Michael returns U.S.)

      Jan.15 1994 (It was Marin Luther King’s birthday) Johnnie Cochra and Larry Feldman talk over. The settlement Completed

      first when I read this paragraph,

      [Larry Feldman and I sat down to negotiate under the auspices of a retired judge we had retained, as California law permits. I’ve never faced a tougher, smarter,or more able adversary. Both larry and I agreed that it would be in our clients’ best interests to put the matter behind them and allow them to get on with their lives. It was Martin Luther King’s birthday.]

      I didn’t to know that day ( Luther King’s birthday) is begin or Completed?

      When I Searched some message about “insurance settlement” at yesterday
      I from hate’ evidences , found that Jan 13. Howard Weitzman and Johnnie Cochran with insurance talk(letter) about settlement
      so I think Marin Luther King’s birthday(Jan.15) was settlement Completed with Larry Feldman

      1. “When I Searched some message about “insurance settlement” at yesterday
        I from hate’ evidences , found that Jan 13. Howard Weitzman and Johnnie Cochran with insurance talk(letter) about settlement
        so I think Marin Luther King’s birthday(Jan.15) was settlement Completed with Larry Feldman”

        Yes, there is an article from the AP I believe which said that Cochran threatened to sue them if they didn’t agree to pay the settlement. It also said they were still negociating with the Insurance.

        “Your mean ” not insurance company pay”?or “never insurance forced” ?
        I mean Insurance never forced him to settle but they probably paid.

  35. I don’t remember reading Cascio heard the details of the settlement at that time. Johnny cochran started to negociate the settlement almost the day he started working for MJ, so he probably talk about settling the case during his phone call.

    For the Insurance settlement, you need to remember that it was never said by Mesereau. It’s the document by Brian Oxman. Mesereau never said that in court. What he said is they agree to settle on the negligence term so that an insurance could apy it.

    1. I don’t remember reading Cascio heard the details of the settlement at that time. Johnny cochran started to negociate the settlement almost the day he started working for MJ, so he probably talk about settling the case during his phone call.

      Only the first to discuss what I see from the book

      because the books said

      During that visit, Michael was back and forth on the phone with the lawyer Johnnie Cochran. (I no doubt that his real. The only small question on date.(it not happen in Nov.1993)

      But in the following, he wrote:

      They were talking about settling the case梡aying Jordy抯 family a substantial amount of money to withdraw their accusations. Michael didn抰 want to settle. He was innocent and saw no reason to pay people to stop spreading lies about him. He wanted to fight. But things weren抰 quite that simple. The fact was that Michael was a money machine, and nobody wanted him to stop being one. If he took time off from his career for a two-to three-year trial, he would stop producing the billions of dollars worldwide that made him an industry. Because the legal fees of a trial would cost far more than any settlement, his insurance company, who would bear those losses, was determined to settle. Johnnie asked him if he really wanted to go to trial, was willing to have his whole life exposed to public scrutiny. If he settled, Michael could call it a day: move on with his life and get back to doing what he did best. And so Michael agreed to settle for what I believe was something in the range of $30 million.

      and then the book said

      【the settlement was in the works before we arrived in England, and it was finalized while we were there.】

      So if I only read Franco’s book, I would think Micheal and Johnnie Cochran talk detail of the settlement when michael in London, because ‘the settlement finished in England.’

      BTW how did Franco know what Johnnie Cochran said to Michael

      【Johnnie asked him if he really wanted to go to trial, was willing to have his whole life exposed to public scrutiny. If he settled, Michael could call it a day: move on with his life and get back to doing what he did best.】

      He did not explained as the previous page that he was listening to MJ said a few years later. He did not say that they discussed this after a few years.

      So HOW did he know it?

      1. “BTW how did Franco know what Johnnie Cochran said to Michael

        【Johnnie asked him if he really wanted to go to trial, was willing to have his whole life exposed to public scrutiny. If he settled, Michael could call it a day: move on with his life and get back to doing what he did best.】

        He did not explained as the previous page that he was listening to MJ said a few years later. He did not say that they discussed this after a few years.

        So HOW did he know it?”

        Well he didn’t say he heard it when MJ was on the phone either. I think you need to remember that the book is based on his memories. All that stuff happened 19 years ago and he was only 13. There are probably lots of other stuff that he probably doesn’t remember very well.

        Look at the Arvizo’s story. He claimed that he slept with MJ & Gavin & Star in the same bedroom after the bashir interview when in fact it happened 3 years before. He is not lying there, but he is mixing the date. If it can’t remember very well what happened in 2003 how do you expect him to have a clear memory of what happened in 1993?

    2. For the Insurance settlement, you need to remember that it was never said by Mesereau. It’s the document by Brian Oxman. Mesereau never said that in court. What he said is they agree to settle on the negligence term so that an insurance could apy it.


      I just think this is a law document

      another my poor english did not understand your mean that “Mesereau never said that in court. What he said is they agree to settle on the negligence term so that an insurance could apy it.”

      Your mean ” not insurance company pay”?or “never insurance forced” ?

      I know some hater said “never insurance forced”

      I have read some of the evidence. I think that the insurance company does pay. Maybe not all

      “never insurance forced” ?

      IS Complex discussion. I inability participate in because of my poor English, and I have many webs can not be read because of my country’s IP. Maybe you can discuss this issue and crows. I am very willing to learn.

      But he is another topic.

  36. “I am wondering now what actually took place and was Frank sleeping with Michael when Gavin was there?”

    Yes and it happened only one time in 2000, then MJ slept with Gavin in February and the Cascio’s brothers were with him but not Frank. All the stuff he claimed happened during that night were described in court by both sides (except that Frank and MJ claimed it’s Gavin who found the porn on Internet)

  37. The story about that night, in that book, is exactly the same story he told on TV in 2003 and it’s what Mesereau said in court. The only difference is the date.

  38. It’s Thomas Mesereau’s interview about Franck and he said it was him who didn’t want Cascio to talk to MJ

    First of all this was a very complex, confusing, terrifying situation. What Sneddon did , the DA who was after Michael as everyone knows, What he did was he brought these conspiracy charges for many different reasons. One of them was to terrify away witnesses that can help Michael Jackson.

    And what he did was and it was very strange, he had the grand jury indict Michael on various counts the first one being conspiracy. But the only one in the alleged conspiracy charged was Michael. He called everyone else an unindicted co-conspirator which is a give away right away that he had a nefarious purpose for bringing a conspiracy charge.

    So Michael was charged with conspiracy. Remember a conspiracy is an agreement among various individuals to commit a crime. the agreement can be in writing or it can be not in writing. It can also be an understanding. But nevertheless conspiracy involves more than one person and it requires a form of agreement to commit a crime. But the only one charged was Michael Jackson. So that ought to tell you something right there something is wrong.

    Everyone else was called an unidicted co-conspirator. Frank Cascio, Vinnie Amen, Dieter, Konitzer, Marc Shaffel. What I think he did was he wanted to scare the daylights away from these potential witnesses for Michael Jackson because they were there when Arvizo’s was around. And to do that he sort of hang the possibility of charging them over their heads, he forced them all to get lawyers and he terrified them. Let’s face it.

    As I said in other discussions there were other technical reasons he brought that charge. It would allow the Arvizo’s to testify about Cascio, Shaffer, Amen, Dieter and Konitzer and at the same time scare them away so Michael couldn’t bring them in to contradict or refute what Arvizo’s said. It was very very sinister in my opinion.

    So Frank Cascio and the rest all got lawyers, you would expect them to. They were looking at the possibility of felony charges of conspiracy and years in prison. We were sort of preparing our defense and trying to figure out who everyone was and what they can contribute to our defense and what they had to say and what they said to other people, have they talked to Sneddon and company. You know this is what criminal defense is. This was a huge case, everything was magnified a million times.

    So Frank Cascio got a lawyer and I did not want Michael talking to him or him talking to Michael because this would open up the door to types of examination by the DAs in the trial. Although I believe they were talking anyway because they were friends for many years.

    And Cascio’s lawyer Joe Tacopina from NY started calling me and asking me what was going on and what I thought. I would tell him what I could and I would ask him what Frank was up to. My impression was Frank was listening to his lawyer. His lawyer was going very carefully, very professionally, very delicately through the evidence and trying to find out how to protect his client. That was what his job was. So his lawyer wasn’t right away saying “he’ll do whatever you want”, he was being careful about it and I think Frank was listening to his lawyer. I don’t know what he said to Michael or what Michael said to him. I know his family members were talking to Michael , I wasn’t privy to those conversations. You know they are all very close friends.

    At some point a perception that Frank was not being cooperative had developed. I’m not so sure why it might have developed. It might have been just his lawyer being cautious and careful. But I can say this in the end he was willing to testify. His lawyer told me he was willing to testify , he had a lot of conversations. What I think happened was he was scared, he was listening to his lawyer , his lawyer was being cautious that may have been construed as him not being cooperative but I will say this in the end he was willing to come in and testify. That’s what I think really happened with Frank Cascio.

    Now you know I can’t blame him for being terrified. He does say in his book that I have to point out that Sneddon offered him immunity from prosecution. What that meant was if he came forward and cooperated with Sneddon and the DA’s office he could not be prosecuted. He also had to be willing to testify against Michael and he refused it. Even though that would have been a very safe way to go to make sure that you aren’t charged. You gotta give him credit for that. Gotta give him credit for that, gotta understand how terrified they were about being charged with felony conspiracy going to prison. You gotta appreciate he was listening to his lawyer who was going on cautiously and carefully to figure out how to best protect his client. So I don’t think anyone should blame Frank. Really don’t.

    Now other people weren’t as terrified as he was. For example Chris Tucker and Maculay Culkin were not unidicted co-conspirators. They were never facing charges. So they came right out and told their lawyers and agents and managers and advisers “we are testifying for Michael whenever he needs us. You know there’s no doubt about it”. And they did that. I sat with Maculay Culkin and his entertainment lawyer and his entertainment lawyer was scared to death. Where as Maculay was cool as can be said “when Michael needs me I am there”. I met with Chris Tucker and his lawyer at his lawyers home and his attitude was exactly the same “When Michael wants me I don’t care what I’m doing I’m there”. But they weren’t also facing the possibility of a conspiracy charge. So I’m not hard on Frank, I understand the whole situation, in the end he was willing to testify.

    And as he correctly said in his book , and I read it and I enjoyed the book, I decided that I didn’t need to call him. I wanted to get this case to the jury , I actually shortened our witness list, we initially expected the trial to last a few more months. But I wanted this to get to the jury, I thought we really rocked their world so to speak and I thought this case was ready for an acquittal. That’s what happened fortunately.

  39. At the beginning – sorry for my English :)) Thank you for the great review, I agrre with that in 100%!! I loved the book.
    I have a small question, about this part: “Michael’s skin disease, along with his difficult childhood and the molesation allegations, were conditions or circumstances that he did his best to survive, and the plastic surgeries he had on his nose were, like so many of his eccentricities, attempts to exert some kind of control over his own destiny and happiness. Those surgeries didn’t make him normal. And, in many people’s eyes, they didn’t make him beautiful. What they did do was make him Michael.”

    Am I correct? This quote is from the book, but I coudn’t find it. Could you tell me which chapter is it from?

    1. That passage is near the end of Chapter 16. It comes after the scene Frank describes in which Michael had a meltdown on the You Rock My World set after learning that they wanted him to use makeup to darken his skin and to put putty around his nose.

  40. Thank you for posting this review. I haven’t read the whole book, but I read some part of the book, and…I don’t know. It’s hard to say whether I liked or disliked it. Like many people, I felt pretty embarrassed about Michael flirting with fan girls ’cause well.. through all the rabbi interviews and stuff, I felt that he was pretty much against them. Against casual sex and all the sudden having fan girls in his bed seems pretty awkward to me as well, so I don’t think I would believe in what Frank says but still it feels a bit embarrassing. Well, I could easily ignore all the tabloid trashes, but this book is so called memoir book written by ‘close friend of MJ’. I know there are too many people out there who claim to be ‘close friend of MJ’ and what they talk about Michael is always different, so it gives me just harder time to understand who Michael really was. I think I’m the kind of person who try to stick to Michael’s own saying or his songs to understand who he really was rather than these second hand stories, but it’s still too hard to be calm whenever something about Michael comes out. I think I’m concerned with this issue – I mean love and sex – more than other people ’cause I have somewhat similar experience of seeing unfair love relationship in my childhood like Michael did(although I’m pretty sure he had harder time seeing all those strip girls and his father and brothers cheating, two-timing, flirting with groupies and etc, etc, etc and so on in early age) It really makes yourself control, be very discreet, and also somehow become critical and disinterested about love and sex(but at the same time it makes you long for pure love). You can say it’s conservative, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If Michael had real consistent love relationship with some fan girls well, fan girls are human too, so why not? I don’t blame it at all. I’m just worried Michael portrayed as some kind of womanizer or any other kind of rock stars who ‘enjoys’ instant love ‘activities'(I won’t call it relationship
    cause it’s not) And more than any of that, I don’t want to think that Michael lied about his views and attitudes on it. I really do.

    About drug use I think he couldn’t help it ’cause life became so, so hard on him. I don’t think I can even understand how much pain he bared. Nobody can. Hard to imagine how hurtful it would be. I understand his drug use after 93 case or scalp burn, because I know that drug use were not for getting high but to deal with his problems. smoking pot is not really serious thing so I wouldn’t mind too. But he often talked about how much he disagree with drug use. Again, I just don’t want Michael to be a liar.

    I would still love him even though the book is all true, but it makes me feel sad that some of this book’s contents make Michael contradict himself – especially on what he consistently had spoken about: sex and drugs – I can’t really deny the fact that I have respected him not only because of his phenomenal music and dance moves, but also for his clean life styles. Because I know it is unbelievably hard to keep that way of life in hollywood, especially a top celebrity like Michael who have enough money, people, and power to take whatever he wants. I wouldn’t be surprised if Prince(just an example really) had more than thausands of women or fangirls who went to bed with him. ‘Cause I know he would from what he says and so on. If snoop dogg says that he did drugs called so and so many many times I wouldn’t be surprised either also ’cause I know he would!(of course his case of drug use has totally different aspect from Michael, I know I’m just giving an example) but Michael was always against casual sex and drug use, and I want to believe in his words… I hope you are not offended by my opinion. I just wanted to talk about it cause I had difficult time reading stuff from Frank’s book. (There was a good time reading funny episodes as well, but still negative wins over positive. I have no idea how it could but anyways)

    However, I still want to say thank you for your thoughtful and kind review on Frank’s book. It was interesting to read other perspective. I still don’t like some of sensationalism he obviously put in his book, but it was happy to read your considerate interpretation on his book! Thank you.

    Jaewon from South Korea

  41. First of all, no one knows the 100% truth except Michael and it should be that way. The women he had sexual affairs with were and should still to this day remain hidden and private. No one should share these kinds of personal experiences with the world, even even they feel they are doing a service to Michael image. If you recall, he did not want to offend his gay fans or perhaps hurt any of his female fans. While he was alive, he was very careful to portray a available persona because it was enticing, it was a genius marketing strategy. He could have shared more with us, he had many opportunity’s to do so, but chose to reveal what he pleased through his music. We all know he chose to remain somewhat quiet about these things and revealed what he wanted us to know about him at his own digression. So now, you have all these so-called friends coming out after he passed, sharing their “secret” life with him. Well, while he was alive, why didn’t they share their secret life with him? Because they knew it would be wrong and what Michael would not have wanted. Why did all Michael’s friends remain loyal while he was alive? It’s pretty obvious; they would not be his friend any longer, it’s pretty logical. But now after he has passed, keeping your mouth shut all payed off. Didn’t it?? Because if any these friends were “true” friends, they would have stayed quiet after he passed and forever show their loyalty. Do I think Frank Casio betrayed Michael? Of course!

    The other thing is us, giving our opinions on Michael’s relationships with Lisa Marie and Debbie Rowe. We do not know anything! We do not know what was in their hearts, we did not live with them. We adults should know how hard a marriage can be, it’ very difficult, let alone a marriage between Michael and another? We cannot speculate what happened. We simply were not there 24/7 to know the absolute truth what caused their divisions and their were even divisions to be had. Even Michael said this or that or Lisa or Debbie said this or that, we do not know if it is true or not. The saddest part of all this, is that all this has been played out in the media and on tv and it shouldn’t of. All of this is none of our business. What bothers me is everyone making judgements on things WE knows nothing about. I can honestly say, I don’t know anything for a certainty what Casio says, what Michael says or what Lisa or Debbie says, for I’m sure they slant the truth and they have to to protect themselves. It must be very awkward explaining yourself to strangers with the world watching. It’s not normal to do this, but because of their fame, they are drawn into it. To me, this is the tragedy. Celebrities simply need more privacy so they can live a life more discreet from the world’s prying eyes.

    I try to mind my own business but sometimes it’s hard because we as humans have a need to share our thoughts with others to try and make sense of things, but truly I don’t think MJ had 1 friend to confide in, otherwise he wouldn’t have died alone at the hands of a doctor who did “NOT” have his best interest at heart.

    1. I agree that it has to be awkward to explain yourself with the whole world watching. That’s a really great phrase!

      I do have mixed feelings about books like this, for the very reasons you described. I doubt that Michael would have wanted a lot of the things that are confided in this book to be made public. But then, the justification that many use is that he is gone now (thus, what would have upset him in life is no longer a factor) and that, perhaps, if knowing some of these truths can help “set the record straight” about him-who he was; helping others gain some better insight; helping to dismantle some of the tabloid myths, etc., then perhaps the end justifies the means. Those of us who are researching Michael will, of course, read these books because we WANT to learn more, and the sad truth is that Michael himself isn’t here, so we tend to turn to the next best thing, which is the people who knew him. I think we just have to be selective in knowing how to separate the chaff from the wheat, as well as what to believe (or take to heart) and what to discard. I doubt that Frank has told everything in this book; I suspect he’s probably held on to a few things that are just for him to know, and I am certainly okay with that. It is very true that a person’s entire private life is not for us to know. Having interviewed many people who knew Michael, I know and respect that there is a line between what is kept “on the record” and what is “off the record.” I try to respect those boundaries by not prying too much. Of course, human nature being what it is, we are always curious. We are curious creatures by habit and nature. It’s what compels us to look every time we pass an accident, even though the better half of ourselves knows it is intrusive and rude to do do so. The tabloids are well aware of this-it’s how they have managed to build an industry. When it comes to books about Michael, I know I won’t stop reading them, but I do try to make sure I only support those books that are contributing to a better overall understanding of him, and not simply trash books that are tearing him down. This, to me, is still one of the better books out there, for sure.

      But a philosophy that I still keep very close to my heart is something Michael told us all along. The BEST way to get to know him is through his own words and songs. He spoke to us about himself more directly-and more powerfully-through his own words than any biographer or memoir writer ever will.

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