My Son Marshall, My Son Eminem is both the life story of Eminems mother Debbie Nelson and her interpretation of her sons life and her relationship with him. Debbie writes about their family history, their relationship, his passionate but notoriously stormy relationship with Kim, his early interest in music and how fame has impacted their lives. It is fairly well-written and makes for an engaging read but there were times I felt the book should be called "I'm Not A Bad Person" because that was the message she was clearly trying to hammer home to the reader by unnecessarily mentioning the charity work she does and compliments of being sweet and good that she gets from others.
A major problem I had with this book was that there are numerous assertions made by Debbie which do not stand up to any kind of scrutiny. Debbie make the following inaccurate claims:
- that Eminem is controlled Kim and always gives into her but if that were true then he would not have released the songs about killing his wife which both Eminem and Kim have said she hated and did not want released - when Eminem and Kim first lived together Kim faked their burglaries but in fact Eminem witnessed the burglar and chased him (which makes me wonder how many of the other numerous accusations she makes about Kim are untrue) - Debbie took Nathan to visit Kims work and found that her receptionist job at a health spa was a cover for prostitution and there was a menu of sexual services available. Since prostitution is illegal in Michigan I don't believe that a brothel hand menus of sexual services to anyone who just walked in off the street - that the Kim Basinger character in the film 8 Mile comes onto her son. I have seen the film multiple times and that never happens. It really shows how delusional she is that she would have interpreted the affectionate scenes between mother and son that way. - that Brittany Murphy and Eminem never had a romantic or sexual relationship despite the actress confirming in interviews that they did - that Kims suicide attempt wasn't to be taken seriously because she has a history of attention seeking such as smashing up rooms. Damaging furniture is one thing but inflicting that kind of pain on yourself and risking your safety are the actions of someone who is very desperate and needs help not someone who is just having a temper tantrum - that Kim was the soul trouble-maker in the family home and Debbie always tried to keep the peace when her brother Todd, who dislikes Kim and takes his sisters side, has said that she deliberately caused arguments between her son and his girlfriend
These inaccuracies raise questions about the validity of the contents of her book. I don't think the author is deliberately lying about most of these things but that she has problems with paranoia, she didn't check her facts properly and she sees things the way it suits her to see them especially when it comes to her former daughter-in-law who she has an obvious hatred for and who she is too ready to conveniently blame her problems with her son on.
Debbie is obviously very unhappy and I felt a lot of sympathy with her reading this book. My impression of her is that she is a very troubled woman whose instabilities did lead her to behave in a way which was at times emotionally abusive. I do believe that she loves her kids and that she is capable of kindness and compassion but I did not buy her view that her only parenting faults were overindulgence and one cruel comment that she made while grief-stricken. She has had a very difficult life and while I don't believe everything she says I do feel that this book humanizes Debbie and gives you some insight into how her life turned out the way it did.
Overall, if you are interested in the life of Eminem then you will most likely enjoy this book but I wouldn't take anything in it as fact.