Dawn's Reviews > High on Arrival

High on Arrival by Mackenzie Phillips
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Mar 10, 2012

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bookshelves: 2012, biographies
Read from March 10 to 17, 2012

Wow. I think this was definitely the hardest autobiography I have ever read. I can't even really decide what my opinion is on this book. At moments I loved it and at moments I just felt so bad for Mackenzie that I had a hard time getting through the rest of the book. And yes, sometimes I wanted to knock some sense into her.

She had such a horrible childhood, raised by her totally useless father (except to music, he was John Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas) who really didn't care what she did as long as she didn't ruin his high. Other useless characters in this book are Mick Jagger who seduced Mackenzie at age 18 and said something to the effect that he had been "watching and waiting for her" since like age 10. Creeper much? Also, Keith Richards, who drove a car with a juvenile Mackenzie in the backseat at 125 miles per hour.

I really don't know anything about this family as I am not a fan of The Mamas and The Papas (I like one song, total, and I don't much care for that one now either) and I never watched "One Day at a Time." I did like Wilson Phillips (Mackenzie's sister Chynna was a member of this group), though.

Essentially, Mackenzie was raised in a drug filled home. And by "drug filled," I mean hypodermic needles all over the floor and pills and cocaine stashed everywhere. I feel so bad that she was raised in this environment. Part of me feels that she had no choice but to grow up and be an addict herself, since that was all she ever saw or knew. Mackenzie did end up cleaning up her act a couple of times. She was even sober for like 15 years one time. I think she is sober now, too.

Mackenzie also had an incestuous relationship with her father for many years. At some points she calls it consensual and at others she calls it rape. Whatever it was, it was wrong and her dad was sick. At one point, she even aborted a fetus that could have been his. Gosh. How do you even wrap your head around that? Several of her family members have called her a liar since she made this allegation public and publicly disowned her. Michelle Phillips is one of the people publicly calling her a liar. Michelle Phillips was part of the scene when Mackenzie was given drugs at such a young age so I think she should just shut up. I believe Mackenzie. This book paints Mackenzie in a horrible light and I can't see what she would stand to gain from it, so I can't see why she would lie.

I hope that by writing this memoir, she finds some kind of peace.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Carla Peele It wasn't even just her father, but her, stepmothers and her OWN mother took no real responsibility, either, to protect her. At least Michelle DID have the sensibilities to protect Chynna-- but she had no control to protect the others, which is sad.


message 2: by Laura-Louise (new)

Laura-Louise just commenting to add that in a relationship, some encounters can be felt to be consensual and others felt to be rape. this of course doesn't ignore that in a relationship as fraught with power dynamics as adult/teen or parent/child, true consent might be an impossibility.


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