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Saturday, November 7, 2009

High On Arrival

I recently finished reading MacKenzie Phillips High On Arrival. I always have enjoyed reading memoirs and autobiographies. Oh, don't worry, I took a pass on James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, if for no other reason because it was on Oprah's book list. If a book is on that list, it's the kiss of death for me. The first book on her list I purchased Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible. I don't have the letters "PHD" after my name, but I'm not unintelligent. I just could not read and comprehend that book. I read the first page over and over and could not for the life of me figure out the point.

Back to High On Arrival, Anastasia asked me why I would even consider reading such a depressing book. I don't look at it that way. This book is about someone who, seemingly grew up in a life of privilege with much success and lots of money, it's also about someone who even with that, had a life filled with very serious issues. A very troubled life. It makes my life seem like a cake walk in comparison.

When I first saw MacKenzie Phillips on the talk shows I was skeptical of her story about her father having sex with her and then her eventually having a consensual (if you can consider someone so under the influence of drugs consenting) relationship for a time with her father, John Phillips of the Mamas & The Papas. After having read the book, I'm not so skeptical.

Some of MacKenzie Phillips' recollections of her parents drug fueled days make it hard not to understand her drug abuse. Having seemingly limitless quantities of cocaine and heroin in your household certainly must give you a different view of drugs in general. While to some it may make them want to avoid it, to others I'm sure it's a way of glorifying it and saying it's acceptable. It's too bad social services wasn't involved while she was young. She does report that social services was involved with her younger step siblings.

This was definitely a book that I had trouble putting down. I read through it quickly, turning page after page wondering what things she had to deal with and how on earth she managed to get to where she is today...a recovering addict at age 50.

Did you read High On Arrival? What did you think?

Lola's Diner
©2008-2009

5 comments:

JD at I Do Things said...

Interesting.

I, too, have been somewhat skeptical (only from what little I've read on the gossip sites), but as you say, the lifestyle would seem to support something like that happening.

I just don't understand the need to publicize it. If you're using the excuse that you're helping others to deal with the same painful situation, it seems to be there must be other ways. As for catharsis, there's therapists for that.

Lin said...

This is a bizarre story to say the least. Do I doubt it? No, not really, there is some weird stuff out there. I know that in order to heal she had to deal with this, but on national TV?? I don't know, I just don't think we all need to help her deal. I might read the book, not sure. Won't buy it though.

StaceyC4 said...

I have not read it yet but after seeing her on every talk show on every channel, it took away my desire to read it. I have a hard time feeling bad for people who have every privilege and opportunity in life and choose to do stupid things. I struggle for every dime we make and while yes, I squander some on stupid things, I'm a far cry from what these celebrities choose to do. I think that maybe some things do not need to be put out there for the public to know. I mean, why did anyone NEED to know about the sex with her dad? It was for sensationalism and so that she can try and get more publicity that would lead to higher sales of her book which would lead to more money for her.

Suzy said...

I feel the same way about Oprah books. But Frey's book and Eat, Pray, Love were in the airport while I was traveling and people kept stepping over me to get to them so I bought them both and loved them both.

Patricia Rockwell said...

I've never read anything on Oprah's list. I think I started a Kingsolver book once and, like you, found it incomprehensible. I read for enjoyment. If I need enlightenment or education, I tend to search the Internet. You are brave to attempt this book as I would never open a book that sounded so depressing (autobiographical or not), but I don't doubt its veracity.

 
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