57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2002
La Toya did what many people today wish they could: reveal, and then heal from an abusive relationship(s). She opened the gates of the Jackson's homes in Gary, Indiana and at Hayvenhurst in CA for the world to see. This very informative book shed light on the hidden, the quiet or even the most beautiful Jackson of them all. In it 'Toy, Toy' (a name she hates to be called) reveals the family struggles with abusive parents, her relationship with her siblings and their spouses, the life in captivity behind the gates of their CA mansion, her meeting of her manager and then husband Jack Gordon and...Playboy. Even a botched kidnap attempt is addressed.
Michael, the prodigal son, is portrayed in a wonderful light, as he should be. They shared very special times growing up and Toya displays each of them. Michael was ordered by the elders at the Witness to NEVER speak to Toya again because she missed (in their opinion) too many meetings. This left Michael sobbing on Janet's bed, when Toya came in, he ran into Janet's bathroom bawling! He also supported Toya against her brother's wives (wives can be so cruel) and supported her when her PLAYBOY PICTORIAL came out.
Joseph Jackson, the family patriarch, is portrayed as twisted and evil, and as an ogre who delighted in the suffering of his family. In Michael's live interview with Oprah Winfrey, he claimed that even in his late 30's he's still afraid of 'Joseph'. He confessed to Oprah that he even regurgitates when 'Joseph' comes by for a visit. La Toya gives much; much more details into the horrors they all faced. La Toya was badly beaten by the hands of her father at a very young age and was left bleeding on the bathroom floor whilst her brothers walked over her, much to afraid to offer any support. He threatened to throw her out of a window repeatedly for just asking a simple question.
Katherine Jackson, the family matriarch, is certainly... some piece of work. A devout Witness, she raised her family, especially La Toya and Michael, to be very spiritual and was Toya's very best friend. When the Jackson 5 was busy with their careers, it was Toya and baby Janet who kept Mama busy. But as you read, she too could be as, if not more wicked than Joseph. Delve into the part when EVEN Joseph confronts Kate about her treatment of Toya regarding medication Kate knows could kill her!!!...SHOCKING! There are two very different (jekyll--and-- hyde) sides to Kate, which Toya talks in detail about. Abused herself by Joseph's womanizing and keeping a second 'FAMILY' right down the road, their was little she could do to stop the abuse of her children...or could she Hmmmm...?
I praise Toya and Romanowski for bringing this book to light simply because of the courage it took. Going up against the Jackson's, even if you are one, must have been frightening. Writing this part of the book must have been so painful for her. Whilst other young girls were becoming women, Toya was still a 'little girl' beside her 'mommy'. She never went on dates because of all the publicity it would garner and never mentioned having ANY boyfriends or many friends. You truly get a sense of her innocence-how could she not be growing up to sheltered-and so shackled.
La Toya also discusses Jermaine's attitudes towards Michael's success and Jermaine's decision not the leave Motown (which was disaster for him.) She also talks about the brother who received the worst treatment from 'Joseph'--the first-born-Jackie. Toya says that Jackie would only stop bye the house if he KNOWS 'Joseph' is not there and would leave immediately if 'daddy' came back. Toya once asked Katherine why Joseph treated Jackie so terribly. Katherine replied "Joe just never liked him." Sad isn't it?
This book gives an excellent insight into the most intriguing music family around told by one of it's most intriguing members...pick it up today.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2007
When La Toya Jackson first released her tell-all autobiography book in 1991, it did not exactly shock the world, as her playboy venture did a couple of years earlier, but it certainly caught a lot of media attention and received much criticism from her own family.
The purpose of this book, according to La Toya, was to reveal the truth. Just how much of this "truth" is real, I'm not quite sure. But for the most part, La Toya seems to be rather genuinely sincere, aside from maybe a few possible exaggerations here and there. Nonetheless, her tone is very humble and straightforward. Many of her stories are fascinating; some of them are sad, others are funny, entertaining, but always interesting. She recounts candidly about her childhood, her relationship to her parents and her siblings, The Jackson Five phenomena, Michael Jackson's tremendous musical success, her own music career, her search of freedom and independence, and her strange "marriage" to Jack Gordon, who she openly admits to have never loved. In fact, her reasons for marrying him had nothing to do with romance at all; her reasons will most likely surprise you.
Yet some of her stories seem a bit too outrageous to be true, or so I thought. For example, La Toya recounts a time when she was held captive inside the home of a famous record producer by the name of Phil Spector. La Toya describes this frightening experience in great detail, portraying Phil Spector as a lunatic, a man with a very serious personality disorder. Spector, according to La Toya, behaved very strangely with his sporadic mood swings and attempts to scare her to death by playing mind games. He even teased La Toya with some eerie suggestions of murdering her! (You'll have to read the book to get the full details: I don't want to spoil this for anybody.) That, at first, I found a bit difficult to believe. So I did some research on this Phil Spector guy, and it turns out that several years after this incident, in 2003, he was arrested as a murder suspect! La Toya's book, by the way, was published in 1991. Therefore, La Toya was not bluffing about this legendary producer, especially since others have also made comments about his odd personality. So does this mean that La Toya's claims that her own family tried to kidnap her at one point may also be true? (This is another fascinating story that you'll find in this book... a must read.)
Overall, I thought this book is exceptionally well written. La Toya is a very open-minded person and I found her quite intriguing. I really enjoyed reading this book. Five Stars!
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2006
This book lifts the lid on the Jackson family's dark (although not so shocking in the year 2006) rise to fame and fortune...
La Toya describes the abuse, and beatings that she and her siblings, including brother Michael Jackson received from their father. She also hints at sexual abuse (La Toya has said in subsequent interviews that she was an incest victim, but pulled the details from this book) at the hands of her father. She also has stated that her parents tried to kidnap her.
Now fast-forward 15 years. La Toya Jackson has recanted most of her statements in this book. She now claims that she was a domestic violence victim by her late, ex-husband.
So is this book true or false? It's up to the reader to decide. ...As far as I'm concerned I think La Toya Jackson gets her kicks by playing the perpetual victim. It is still an interesting saga, though... And I wouldn't mind reading a new autobiography by La Toya, with an updated bio.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2001
I read this book when it first came out, in the early 90's, and was fascinated by it then, at the inside peep at one of Pop Music's most famous families! The Jackson's are rich, they are black, and have more #1 and platinum records between them than any other family in the Pop Music business, (The Jackson 5, Michael and Janet) and have been around forever, it seems! Any and all of this makes us interested in what their lives are really like. I was and still am interestred in their story, and it is still developing. LaToya's book gives us an insider's view to the beginning. I believe her story, it is very convincing. Other facts that I have read backs up most of what she says in her book. Joseph is not shown in a good light, but Katherine is, as well as Michael and the rest of her siblings. One thing this book will do is leave you with a feeling of sympathy for not only LaToya, but all of the Jackson children, and bring home the fact that having oodles of money and being rich as King Midas does not necessarily bring happiness. I really enjoyed this book and would like an update on LaToya in the present. In some ways, she is the most interesting of all the Jackson's, because she is the most mysterious of the clan and not heard of much at all today. She is in every way as interesting as Michael and she is an absolutely beautiful Lady!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2009
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
Everything she says in this book rings true. I always figured that Katherine had a lot more up her sleeve than she was letting on. Mama loved those ducketts coming in just like Joe. Too bad she didn't look out for her kids better. She sold her kids out for chicken change.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2007
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
LaToya's book is intriguing. Like all of these books aimed at getting attention and making money, you have to take it with a grain of salt and realize that not everything is entirely true, some has been exaggerated, and some just plain made-up. You also have to keep in mind that this book was written when she was still with Jack Gordon and be aware of the influences that has on how some things are portrayed.
If you can take the time to sort through it all though, what you find is a very sensitive and caring girl who was caught in the insanity that is the Jackson family. Like other tales from inside Hayvenhurst (like Margaret Maldonado Jackson's book), you get the sense that the people inside those walls are prisoners of their own fame and paranoia, a house filled with physical and emotional abuse. I think if you looked up "dysfunctional family" in the dictionary, there should be a picture of the Jacksons staring back at you.
You really feel for her in this book, and stories such as that of her father beating her after she got a less than stellar report from her teacher at school, are so vivid that you can tell it must be true, her pain and fear from such incidents is palpable.
Like Margaret's book, Katherine comes out looking just as bad as Joe here, and it seems no surprise that the Jackson children are so troubled with parents like these. Desperate to escape her insane family, it's easy to see why a girl like LaToya would be suckered in by an opportunist like Jack Gordon who would use and abuse her for years.
I really wish she would write an update to her book, to let us know how she is doing since this book was published.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read a few books about the Jackson Family,some fictional accounts (written by family members)and a couple of fact based ones. This one, as well as the book titled "Be Careful Who You Love" are positively riveting and honest.
I have tried to share the experience of reading the true stories with other avid readers and especially die hard Jackson fans and they just don't want to hear or know anything but what the spin doctors,publicists and Michael Jackson spoon feed them. That's unfortunate because if you have children;if your children are being cared for in your absence by other adults, you NEED to not be afraid of discovering the truth about the Jackson family. La Toya is nobody's airhead. She is incredibly intelligent,a fact not many of us know and she is marvelously candid and articulate. Reading her book, I got a completely different perspective of the kind of woman she is. She deserves to be better thought of and listened too.
This is my open letter to La Toya. You are worthy. You have overcome the horrors of your childhood wonderfully.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I purchased this books because it was on sale. The author who wrote this book for LaToya is a wonderful writer. The book is so well written. Many people know now that LaToya wrote this book under her abusive controlling husband's command. To read some the situations she described, even though well written was hilarously and I simply skipped those sections. She described her mom as a split personality crazy woman. People, who are Jackson fans know that is not true. Why would parents want to kidnap their adult child is beyond me and everyone else. Growing up watching the Jackson family, it was common knowledge that LaToya could not sing and was just a joke - the non-singing Jackson. So, for her to tout that she had all these admirers and movie opportunities is unbelievable. She can't act either.
However, I enjoyed reading about her brothers in her book. Those accounts appeared to be sincere. Oh, LaToya set the record straight about Brooke Shields, too. Michael was so nice. Also, LaToya did a wonderful job on her brother's memorial service.
Another thing after all these years, why can't she find make-up to match her skintone. Queen Latifah help her out.
Over good read, because it is well written and comical, because her claims her bizarre.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2005
I read LaToya's memoir a couple of years ago but to this day I remember the sleazy fun of reading her dirty laundry. One creepy side comment is the passage about getting trapped in Phil Spector's house. In light of his recent trouble, it is chilling to think about.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2006
Society should thank Latoya for exposing abuse. More books should be written to reveal what goes on behind closed doors. Thumbs up!