Book Review | Remember the Time
Author: Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard with Tanner Colby
About the Book:
Michael Jackson’s former bodyguards reveal the amazing truths of the late superstar’s last years — his life in seclusion with his children, his financial crises, his preparations for the This Is It tour, and the weeks leading up to his shocking death.
Hounded by the tabloid media, driven from his self-made sanctuary at Neverland, Michael Jackson spent his final years moving from city to city, living with his three children in virtual seclusion-a futile attempt to escape a world that wouldn’t leave him alone. During that time, two men served as the singer’s personal security team: Bill Whitfield, a former cop and veteran of the security profession, and Javon Beard, a brash, untested rookie, both single fathers themselves.
Stationed at his side nearly 24/7, their job was to see and hear everything that transpired, and to keep everyone else out, making them the only two men who know what 60 million fans around the world still want to know: What really happened to the King of Pop?
Driven by a desire to show the world who Michael Jackson truly was, Whitfield and Beard have produced the only definitive, first-person account of Michael Jackson’s last years: the extreme measures necessary to protect Jackson and his family, the simple moments of happiness they managed to share in a time of great stress, the special relationship Jackson shared with his fans, and the tragic events that culminated in the singer’s ill-fated comeback, This Is It. The truth is far more compelling than anything you’ve yet heard.
An indispensable piece of pop-culture history, Remember the Time is the story of a man struggling to live a normal life under extraordinary circumstances, the story of a father fighting to protect and provide for his children. Remember the Time is the book that dismantles the tabloid myths once and for all to give Michael Jackson back his humanity.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read Remember the Time, but I’m so glad I did. Not only did I find it an engrossing read, but it also made me look at Michael Jackson in a much different way. I felt compassion for him and realized how difficult a life he had.
This book is not a Michael Jackson biography. It’s focused mainly on the last few years before his death in 2009. I grew up on Michael Jackson’s music. In the 80’s, I was listening to Thriller, Billie Jean and Beat It and going to school dances where Bad and Man in the Mirror would be playing. I knew about Michael Jackson’s legal issues and really didn’t have an opinion if they were true or not. This book is written by Michael Jackson’s former bodyguards and maintains his innocence. The way he is portrayed in this book, I believe he was innocent too and understand now why he would pay people off who sued him. He just wanted to be left alone.
The book is told from the point of view of the bodyguards who were with Michael Jackson 24/7. Michael Jackson and his children always had security with them. There was no impromptu shopping trips or outings. Everything they did had to be carefully planned for security reasons. I couldn’t imagine being that confined. Michael Jackson was basically a prisoner by his fame.
One story that made me smile was the one about Michael Jackson wanting to go for a walk. He didn’t want to be recognized though so his bodyguards found him a motorcycle helmet that covered his entire head and face. Despite the LasVegas heat, he walked down the Strip in this get-up and loved every second of it. I guess they figured there was stranger things to see on the Vegas strip!
The Michael Jackson portrayed in this book is vulnerable and almost child-like. He seems very innocent to the evils of the world and that is probably why he has been taken advantage of so many times by people he trusts. He also is shown as a doting father and one who would do anything for his children. He had a very close relationship with all three of them.
I knew Michael Jackson had financial troubles, but I had no idea how bad it was. It shocked me to see how badly his business was mismanaged. It was to the point that Michael Jackson couldn’t even get an iPhone in his name or pay his employees. He seem oblivious to the financial issues and didn’t seem to really comprehend how dire his situation was. His bodyguards worked for months with no pay! They knew if they quit they would never get their money so they stuck it out.
Despite his mistakes and shortcomings, I have a new respect for Michael Jackson. He is human like all of us and makes judgment errors as we do too.
Remember the Time was a book I was sad to see end because I knew it ended with Michael Jackson’s death. I’m glad to have read this book and now have a better and clearer perspective of the King of Pop.