by Janet Jackson with David Ritz
Karen Hunter Publishing
272 pages, Illustrated
Book Review by Kam Williams
“Writing my first book was an adventure [which] comes from my heart with love… This is not an autobiography. It’s a journey that I am still
taking to love and accept myself just as I am.
“I want you to walk this road with me. You can never be happy until you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. If this book helps people
find those answers, it has succeeded.”
–Excerpted from the Acknowledgements (pgs. v-vi)
Whenever I’ve interviewed Janet Jackson, I’ve always had the sense that I was speaking with a very grounded individual for someone who was born inside
the bubble of celebrity and has lived her whole life in the limelight. Thus, I am not surprised to discover that she would seem as real and equally
accessible in her autobiography.
Janet co-wrote True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself with ghostwriter to the stars David Ritz, who has also penned memoirs with Ray
Charles, Marvin Gaye, Aretha, Etta James, B.B. King, Smokey Robinson, Natalie Cole, Lang Lang, Snoop Pearson, Billie Holiday, The Neville Brothers and
Don Rickles. The prolific Ritz credits his uncanny knack for the genre with an ability to become one with his subjects by “absorbing himself into the
artist’s very heart and soul.”
Such is certainly the case with True You, an unusually humanizing tome in which Janet is forthcoming about the host of challenges she’s had to face in
the public eye over the years, ranging from bouts with depression to overeating and yo-yo dieting. Despite her phenomenal singing and acting career,
the five-time, Grammy-winning pop icon freely admits to having struggled with self-esteem issues.
Fortunately, Janet has finally broken free of the negative mindset, and she now has some sound advice for folks who might themselves be battling
similar demons. She even shares some of her favorite, health-conscious recipes, an imaginative, mouth-watering menagerie with names like Strawberry
Clouds, Oatmeal Pancakes and Cauliflower Popcorn.
Of course, this bio wouldn’t be complete without her reflections about growing up a Jackson. Not to worry, such fond reminiscences are here in
abundance, especially about her late brother, Michael, as well as family photographs featuring Janet from infancy to the present, and at every stage in