Book thoughts triggered by Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett’s deaths

Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett's deaths have sparked emotional reactions around the globe.

Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett's deaths have sparked emotional reactions around the globe.

The world is abuzz with reaction to Michael Jackson’s sudden and Farrah Fawcett’s more expected deaths yesterday.

I would only add to the outpouring that both of them brought back many cherished childhood and high school memories. 

I vividly remember the classic  poster of Farrah in a one-piece  red bathing suit that stood proudly in my friend Jimmy Aber’s room.  Her Noxzema commercials  and stint as one of the original Charlie’s Angels were the stuff that inspired a thousand adolescent fantasies, at least.

Learning about Michael Jackson’s death brings back memories of my brother Mike playing Off The Wall six times in a row on our family’s record player, of dancing at nearly every wedding and college dance to I’ll Be There, Rockin’ Robin and ABC, and, of course, Thriller, which dominated the charts throughout the entire senior year of high school and beyond.

They also made me think about a number of books.

Here are three that I like and recommend:

1.On Death and Dying, by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.  In this book, the Swiss psychiatrist draws on her clinical experience to articulate five stages of death and dying.  Journalist Ron Rosenbaum challenged the paradigm, but its influence remains strong.   I thought of it in light of Fawcett’s ongoing bout with cancer.

2.Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, byPeter Guralnick.  The second of this two-volume biography of a previous “King” details his physical descent and makes the point that, by the end of his life, his circle was just waiting for him to die. A similar set of stories seem to be emerging around Jackson, who, like Presley, rose from humble to roots to become an iconic and grounbreaking figure before descending into become a lurid and tawdry shell of himself.

3. Black Dog of Fate, by Peter Balakian.  Poet Balakian’s paean to his the music and times of his childhood during the 50s connects to the memories of that stage of life.

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One response to “Book thoughts triggered by Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett’s deaths

  1. Pingback: Book thoughts triggered by Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett's … | Michael Jackson Dies

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