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Publisher's Summary

Not long before her 50th birthday, Mackenzie Phillips walked into Los Angeles International Airport. She was on her way to a reunion of One Day at a Time, the hugely popular 70s sitcom on which she once starred as the lovable rebel Julie Cooper. Within minutes, Mackenzie was in handcuffs, arrested for possession of cocaine and heroin.

Born into rock and roll royalty, Mackenzie grew up in an all-access kingdom of hippie freedom and heroin cool. It was a kingdom over which her father, the legendary John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, presided, often in absentia, a spellbinding, visionary phantom.

When Mackenzie was a teenager, Hollywood and the world took notice of the charming, talented, precocious child actor after her star-making turn in American Graffiti. As a young woman, she joined the nonstop party in the hedonistic pleasure dome her father created for himself and his fellow revelers, and a rapt TV audience watched as Julie Cooper wasted away before their eyes.

By the time Mackenzie discovered how deep and dark her father's trip was going, it was too late. And as an adult, she has paid dearly for a lifetime of excess, working tirelessly to reconcile a wonderful, terrible past in which she succumbed to the power of addiction and the pull of her magnetic father.

As her astounding, outrageous, and often tender life story unfolds, Phillips overcomes seemingly impossible obstacles again and again, and journeys toward redemption and peace. By exposing the shadows and secrets of the past to the light of day, the star who turned up High on Arrival has finally come back down to earth - to stay.

©2009 Shane's Mom, Inc (P)2009 Simon & Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    184
  • 4 Stars
    87
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    31
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    13
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    7

Performance

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    55
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    25
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    6
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    1

Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Missye
  • Gettysburg, PA, United States
  • 10-11-09

Raw and Honest

Women like Mackenzie, Tatum, Valerie and Maureen I'd always wanted as friends, maybe because each have a single struggle tantamount in their lives I've struggled with all four of: drugs, weight issues, special needs, abandonment and parental issues. I'm not famous enough to do my own memoir, but came away with from each knowing that, if they hold hope for themselves, I can for me, too.

Mac's life didn't make me cry more so than it made me think of how my own family wouldn't talk about the taboos they know about, but won't discuss. Although I don't have holes in my memories like Mac does and have dark secrets like she divulges here--my dad was a bigot to whites and being born with albinism, talk about God slapping a does of reality upside his head with that idiocy of his--I'm glad she talked about it and opened herself to the dark side of it all. I think she did it for her son's welfare more so than for her own, and she desperately, imploringly didn't want him to travel the road she had to to get here. I think it's a disgrace her stepmoms Michelle and Genevieve think Mackenzie's lying to promote a book; no one makes up something like this for the sake of selling a book. And in her drug-soaked mind, who's to say these things didn't happen? And if they say it didn't happen, why are they the only two saying so? Where're the others? IOW, this is either a lie worthy of an Oscar-winning performance. . .or she's telling the truth.

Four stars b/c of the abridgment constraints, but overall, a solid read and backstory the E! True Hollywood Story doesn't fill in or give justice.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Rick
  • New Rochelle, NY, USA
  • 10-01-09

Chilling and True

Forget the controversy surrounding the tale's authenticity--it's irrelevant. This is a very powerful story containing great lessons about tragedy and redemption. Phillips has survived so many trials that would have incapacitated so many other people, and beat the odds to tell her story. I'm glad she found the words and the strength to give it voice.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Tough Life with a Hopeful Ending

This story is pretty messed up from day one. The drugs, the lack of good parenting, the dad who introduced her to drugs and much more at such a young age. This book kept my attention and I listened to it wondering "what else" could this girl face. I feel like I would have liked more details on HOW she overcame her addictions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

tough listen

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Just about finished but a little nauseating. I find most biographies that feature rampant drug use tedious and boring. This one is really no different.

What was most disappointing about Mackenzie Phillips’s story?

One dimensional...very little about others.

What three words best describe Mackenzie Phillips’s performance?

Very good reader.

Could you see High on Arrival being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

High Anxiety

Really appreciate Mackenzie Phillips narrating the story herself, really very impactful!!!!!!
An unbelievable TRUE story and glad she put it out there so she can be an inspiriation to many.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brutally honest and inspiring!!

I knew she had lived a hard life -- I had no idea HOW hard. Her resilience & bouncing back & forth over & over again is amazing. She is a survivor & I have a new respect for Laura Mackenzie Phillips. Growing up around this lifestyle, I'm not sure how these kids are supposed to learn how "not" to live. It's their lifestyle, it's just a world that many of us cannot possibly fathom. Well written & inspiring to listen to her tell her own story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing & inspirational

I couldn't stop listening. I recommend this to anyone who struggles or has a loved one struggling with demons. - Thank you Mac.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

She's a survivor.

Would you listen to High on Arrival again? Why?

I might listen to it again.

Who was your favorite character and why?

MacKenzie Phillips was my favorite character. It is based on her life. I love her honesty. I appreciate her ability to find the positive even during her darkest times. She is very much the product of the subculture of the 1960s and 1970s.

What does Mackenzie Phillips bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Humility. Emotion. The knowledge that she is telling me her story firsthand.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The way in which motherhood brought meaning and purpose to her life. The way that she was able to obtain peace with her father during his final hours. The way that she was able to forgive him..and herself.

Any additional comments?

She is an inspiration. She did not have a lot of stability in her youth, but she has tried and obtained many successes in spite of the odds. She may always have that 'monster' inside her, but I think that she is stronger than most because of that.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Finished it in a day and a ½

Interesting, yet sad story. Very well narrated. Kept my interest every minute. Mackenzie Phillips’s transparency is beyond brave.
Highly suggest!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Listen!

As a 36 yr old, never really watched One day at a time or listen to Mamas and Papas. It was a great listen about a survivor.