On Michael Jackson

I read this short book in preparation for the Michael Jackson documentary on HBO, “Leaving Neverland.” I knew I would need to do a good amount of emotional prep-work before watching that film (which turned out to be true, it was devastating).

Margot Jefferson’s criticism in this book is academic, yes, but it does not lack feeling. She has empathy for Michael, his family, his fans, and his victims. She does a remarkable job of placing the man but also the cultural phenomenon in context of both personal and cultural history. At a time when people are being asked deceptively simple questions about complicated cultural figures, works like this are immensely useful.