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High on Arrival

High on Arrival

3.5 224
by Mackenzie Phillips

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The eldest daughter of John Phillips and stepdaughter of Michelle Phillips, both lead singers of the 1960s band The Mamas and The Papas, Mackenzie Phillips grew up in a wild household, where a typical evening might include rolling joints for her dad or fending off advances by Mick Jagger. Far from idyllic, she describes her parents’ home as “dirty and


The eldest daughter of John Phillips and stepdaughter of Michelle Phillips, both lead singers of the 1960s band The Mamas and The Papas, Mackenzie Phillips grew up in a wild household, where a typical evening might include rolling joints for her dad or fending off advances by Mick Jagger. Far from idyllic, she describes her parents’ home as “dirty and broken” with “very little going on inside except sex, drugs, and rock and roll.”.

But in spite of the turmoil at home, Mackenzie found success onscreen, becoming famous at age fourteen for her role in the iconic film American Graffiti, which landed her a starring role as Julie Cooper on the hit sitcom One Day at a Time alongside America’s sweetheart Valerie Bertinelli. Even though she seemed to have it all, Mackenzie couldn’t escape the dark secrets and constant drug use at home and began to use herself. Her professional life suffered and she was written out of the show. For the next two decades she battled her drug addiction, going through rehab several times, and managing to stay clean for ten years, until Labor Day 2008, when she landed back in the tabloids for possession of cocaine and heroin at LAX. What led to her relapse is a shocking, life-long secret that she’ll reveal in-depth for the first time here, in High on Arrival ..

Riveting, heart-wrenching, yet ultimately uplifting, Mackenzie’s story is an all-too-real testament to the power of drugs—but it’s also a story of courage, forgiveness, and true redemption. .

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Abridged, 5 CDs
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt


Our condo: a perfectly nice place to live. My mother kept an orderly, clean house. She drove us to school every day and cooked dinner every night. She was a proper lady, the kind of woman who never wore white after Labor Day, crossed her legs at the ankle, and expected her children to be well mannered and respectful. We said please and thank you. We never let the screen door slam. We knew how to set a dinner table. My mother was sweet and warm, and she knew how to make life fun for my brother Jeffrey and me even if there wasn't much money. She'd buy a bunch of beads and we'd sit by the fire making necklaces. We'd cover the kitchen table with newspaper and have crab legs like we used to when we lived in Virginia. There was laughing, singing, dancing, and playing dress-up. At bedtime, she cuddled me, held me, called me Laurabelle, my little snowflake, my baby girl. These are the things that a mother does, and we expected them. Five days a week. But when Friday rolled around, everything changed.

Weekends, we entered another world. My dad, John Phillips, was a rock star, the leader and songwriter of the Mamas & the Papas. The Mamas & the Papas were huge in 1966. Their first album had just come out, and it was the number one album on the Billboard 200. Money poured in from hits like "Monday, Monday" and "California Dreamin'." Dad was fabulously rich and famous.

After school on Friday, a cavernous Fleetwood limo would glide down our street in Tarzana, a suburban neighborhood in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley. The limo would roll to a stop in front of our condo complex. I was six years old and my brother was seven. The neighborhood children would make thrones out of their hands and carry us to the car. As we climbed in, the kids would peer in the windows, hoping to get a glimpse of our father. He was never in the car. The engine purred, and we slid out of reality. The limo would transport us to either Dad's mansion in Bel Air or his mansion in the Malibu Colony, where our relatively stable childhood veered down a psychopharma rabbit hole.

I was conceived during a short reconciliation between my parents. As a little girl I hardly lived with my father. My dad had ditched my mother for a sixteen-year-old girl named Michelle when I was two, maybe younger. In the next few years Mom began to work at the Pentagon to support the three of us — herself, my brother, and me. There wasn't a lot of money, we lived in a small apartment in Alexandria, Virginia, and my mom dated a lot. Every Sunday we had dinner, either at my grandmother Dini's or at my aunt Rosie's. Meanwhile, Dad and his new wife, Michelle Phillips, became famous with the Mamas & the Papas practically overnight and lived a recklessly extravagant life.

Dad and Michelle made their home in Los Angeles, and eventually my mother moved there too, so now my parents were living in the same city, but in different worlds. Dad and Michelle's life felt like a fairy tale. She was beautiful and so young, the quintessential California girl. Dad was almost six foot six and dressed in handmade floor-length caftans and the like. He looked...like Jesus in tie-dye. On weekends Michelle took me clothes shopping at Bambola in Beverly Hills. She bought me tiny kid gloves in all different colors, dresses with matching coats, ankle socks, and Mary Janes. This alone was enough to make a princess out of me, but the dichotomy between my parents' lives was far bigger than being spoiled with clothes by Michelle. As soon as we drove through the massive wrought-iron gate of Bel Air, the contrast was mind-boggling. We were special. We were royalty.

My father was always surrounded by a noisy, outrageous, wild party. Rock 'n' roll stars, aristocracy, and Hollywood trash streamed in and out of his homes. He lived beyond his means. There were eight Rolls-Royces in the driveway and two Ferraris. The house was full of priceless antiques, but if something broke, it never got fixed. The housekeeper hadn't been paid, or she was fucking my father. There was a cook, but nobody shopped for food. The house was complete chaos, a bizarre mix of excess and oblivion, luxury and incompetence. I swam naked at midnight in the pool or the ocean and scrounged for dinner. I chased the pet peacocks around the estate grounds and had no idea what I might hear or see on any given night.

At the house in Bel Air my brother and I shared a room with twin beds. One night we awoke to hear Dad and Michelle making some kind of ruckus. It surpassed the everyday level of ruckus, so we sat up in bed and started calling for them, "Hey! What's going on?"

Michelle came into the room. She said, "Don't worry, your father and I were just playing." She was carrying a long stick with metal stubs poking out of it. Jeffrey and I looked at each other. This was no innocent game of Monopoly. Years later I channel-surfed past a show about cowboys and recognized the weird stick Michelle had been holding that night. It was a cattle prod. They were chasing each other around with a cattle prod. That may have been an isolated bizarre incident. But life then seemed to be nothing but a long, continuous series of isolated bizarre incidents, so much weirdness every day that the weirdness became everyday.

The Mamas & the Papas played the Hollywood Bowl, a famous amphitheater smack in the middle of Hollywood. It was the Mamas & the Papas' first formal live gig. Michelle decided to commemorate the event by piercing my ears. I was seven years old, compliant — a perfect dress-up doll for Michelle. She sat me on the bedroom floor and gathered a sewing needle, pink thread, ice, and a wine cork. Holding the wine cork behind my ear to protect my neck, she forced the threaded needle through my ear, and then tied little peacock feathers (from the pet peacocks) to the ends of the pink threads. Michelle had assembled her tools so thoughtfully and executed the procedure so calmly — which was even more impressive when I later found out she was on acid at the time.

Barry McGuire, who sang "Eve of Destruction," was coming with us to the Bowl. He was dressed in a cream-colored suit, but he couldn't find his shoes, so he painted his feet green. If I'd been a few years older I certainly would have figured out that they were all either on acid or, like me, following the lead of those who were.

The Hollywood Bowl show is fuzzy. I was really young. I remember screaming, "Dad! Dad!" from the audience. Later, backstage, I met Jimi Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix didn't mean much to me — he had not yet ignited his guitar onstage at the Monterey Pop Festival, which my father would organize. A giant purple velvet hat floats in my consciousness, attached to the name Hendrix, a vague visual footnote, my own purple haze.

My mother flipped out when she saw that my virgin earlobes had been violated. Pearl studs at eighteen was more her cup of tea. Plus, the threads weren't big enough for earrings and I had to have my ears repierced, and the holes were completely crooked and have been my whole life. For all the asymmetry of my childhood, I'm still disproportionately pissed off about that.

It was a double life: doing what was expected at my mother's, and not answering to anyone at my dad's. I always was aware of the effect my father had on my mom. Even in my seven-year-old brain, I was aware that she was envious, angry, and sad. Often sad. I worried as much as a child can, but the fun at my dad's was irresistible. There was music, guitars, parties, rock stars, and the very seductive attitude of "We're all kids here." I'd ask my dad, "Can I go play on the beach?" and he'd say, "Whatever turns you on, kid." So I'd burst out the back door, free, a crazy kid chasing the dogs on the beach until we were all worn out. Occasionally the cook would attempt to impose a modicum of order. She'd say, "Now, young lady, you clean your room. Your dad's going to be mad," and I'd say, "No, he's not." How could he when he lived so wild? Meanwhile, in Tarzana, my mom was watching me walk down the street, yelling after me to tuck in my shirt. She was trying her best to raise her kids, but we were being shown another kind of life, and it was no competition. Would you rather live at Disneyland or in a condo in Tarzana? Being at Dad's was like riding the Matterhorn all day long, and the weekends, by moment and memory, dominated the school week.

My dad's friends never treated me like a child, not exactly. I was more like an accessory, a cute little prop who might amuse or entertain. One weekend before we'd moved to Los Angeles from Virginia — I must have been five or six — we were with Dad in L.A. for a visit. His fellow band member Cass Eliot (the other "Mama") had a party at her house in Laurel Canyon. We walked into Cass's house and there were Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

When I saw Paul McCartney I glommed on to him like a baby groupie. He kept saying, "Go on, love, get up and dance." In a rare moment of shyness, I demurred. I was afraid people would laugh at me. He insisted. I refused. This exchange circled, a teasing game between a little kid and a world-famous musician.

Finally I broke down and started dancing. The adults began to point and laugh at the little five-year-old dancing for the rock star. I turned bright red and burst into tears, but then Paul McCartney started consoling me. I was no dummy. I liked being consoled by Paul McCartney. The more he comforted, the more tears I summoned. Finally he picked me up and carried me into a hammock that was suspended in the middle of Cass's dining room on a pulley. Someone hoisted us up, up, up. The ceilings were two stories tall and we were suspended fifteen feet in the air. I was still snuffling. Paul snuggled up with me until I finally calmed down and eventually fell asleep. The two of us napped together in that hammock, suspended high above the party. You could say I got high and slept with Paul McCartney.

There was something about my father. He was a cool, countercultural guy who attracted some of the most creative people of his time: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Gram Parsons, Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Jack Nicholson, Candy Bergen. Most of his friends did drugs, didn't sleep much, and made lots of money: Excellent role models all. What was it that made my father so compelling? People were so drawn to him — musicians, thinkers, beautiful women. He was tall and cool and always fabulously dressed. He drove fancy cars and threw outrageous parties. He was just as much a master of play as he was a master of music. The world was his drug-rock playground, and everyone wanted a turn on the slide. As his daughter, his light was magnified for me. I always wanted to be closer, brighter, warmer. What was fun and games for his friends would develop into a too-powerful life force for me.

At the time I was still just a kid with a lot of energy. But Dad wasn't exactly organizing softball games. The adults at the beach house, and the beach house after that, and the one after that, were always stoned, laughing, and playing guitars. My whole life I've been surrounded by men with guitars. Friends, boyfriends, husbands, son. They sit around, jamming, writing, and talking. That's where the men-with-guitars theme began, in my dad's beach houses.

Gram Parsons was a good friend of my dad's. I didn't know who he was — as far as I was concerned he was just a gentle, quiet man who was at Dad's house all the time and could play the piano like nobody's business. Dad had a baby-blue baby grand in his bedroom in Bel Air. I'd sit there on the piano bench listening to Gram Parsons play for hours. Chuck Barris was often there too. I recognized him as the host of The Gong Show. He'd sit on the couch in a big fur coat, not saying much, not gonging Gram Parsons, just hanging out. But as I look back it's hard to believe that Barris's claims to have worked for the CIA were true. I was only a kid, but I was pretty sure he was stoned.

Stoner hangs weren't very kid-friendly. I got bored. Sometimes I found ways to entertain myself. I would walk to the market with money my dad gave me, buy seeds, and plant a wildflower garden. Or I'd climb into my dad's beautiful old Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. I'd drag the neighborhood beach cat into the backseat with me and pretend we were having tea. There was a big phone in that car; I have no idea how they managed to put a phone in a car in the seventies, but mine was not to question the technology — which I was explicitly not to use. The backseat had mahogany tray tables. I'd pull one down, lean against it, and chat with my friends for fifty dollars a minute. That car phone was the most expensive babysitter in history.

One time when the limo dropped me off in Malibu, I walked in to find a completely empty house. This was not wholly unusual; I was expected to fend for myself. So I was chilling, wondering if anyone would show up, waiting for my father as I often did, when Donovan Leitch walked in the door. "What's going on, kid?"

In "Mellow Yellow" Donovan sings, "I'm just mad about Fourteen / She's just mad about me," a lyric that aroused suspicion of pedophilia. But I was only ten — still safely under underage. He chatted with me, goofing with the kid who happened to be home, and we decided to make something to eat. We discovered brownie mix in the kitchen and we agreed that brownies would make an excellent lunch. Donovan found a bowl, I got a spoon, we added eggs, we took turns stirring, all the while happily chatting about how yummy they would be. We dug up a pan we were pretty sure would do the trick and put the brownies in the oven. They were cooking; they smelled delicious; and then, out of the blue, Donovan said, "You can't have any." This had to be a cruel joke.

"Why not?" I asked.

"These are special grown-up brownies," Donovan said. It turns out Donovan had found my dad's pot and added it to the mix. Well, that was just plain mean. When he went into the other room, I looked at the brownies. They didn't look different from any other brownies. They sure smelled like regular brownies. I was hungry. And besides, I was in my dad's house. There were no rules here. I helped myself to a brownie. And another. Next thing I knew everything was funny and Donovan and I were sliding down the banister over and over again. If you don't count my hammock suspension with Paul McCartney, that was the first time I got high. I was ten.

Two days later I was playing Barbies by the pool in Tarzana with my best friend, Julie, to all eyes looking like a kid who comfortably straddled two worlds. But the Barbies masked what was really going on. At Dad's I was a weird little savage on the periphery, tap-dancing and singing, eager for any kind of attention. I'd transform over the weekend into an out-of-control little maniac, and when I came home to Mom's, she'd spend all week retraining me in manners and etiquette. How hard it must have been for my mother, watching us go off every Friday and knowing that the kids who came home weren't going to be the same. In Tarzana I wanted to fit in too — I faked failing an eye test to get glasses and fashioned a retainer out of paper clips so I could look like the other kids — but between the controlled order of my mother's home and the wild freedom of my father's decadence, I already knew which I'd choose. I was my father's daughter. Copyright © 2009 by Shane's Mom Inc.


Meet the Author

Mackenzie Phillips is the daughter of John Phillips and stepdaughter of Michelle Phillips, both lead singers of the 60s band The Mamas and The Papas. She starred as Julie Cooper Horvath on the sitcom One Day at a Time alongside Valerie Bertinelli.

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High on Arrival 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 223 reviews.
1Emerson More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed watching Ms. Phillips on TV on One Day at a Time. We all knew she had issues with substance abuse but had no idea the depth of her pain and anquish. I totally believe that this book is true and I applaude Ms. Phillips for her honesty and going the extra mile to tell everything in this book. While it is true she could have sugar coated the facts and still made an interesting tell all - having the bravery to include intimate details with her father will go on to inspire others that have lived through insest or need to step away from insest. Anyone battling substance abuse should read this to see just how far the depths of hell can take you and survive. I pray that Ms. Phillips is able to stay clean and overcome her personal demons. Way to go Mackenzie! Way to go! I am a bigger fan now more than ever!
SusanLynn More than 1 year ago
I saw Mackenzie Phillips on Oprah and went out the next day to purchase her book. I finished the book in 1 day, I could not put it down. The environment that she was born into set her up perfectly for her own world of addcitions to repeat the cycle of abuse to herself and others. Thank the Good Lord we live in a time where the victim is not the bad guy anymore but the victim is a person who is acting out on what has been role modeled infront of them. You don't fix a problem by pretending it is not there, she has courage for speaking out and trying to figure out how she got to where she is and trying to relearn new thoughts and behaviors and reprogram her thinking. Where the mind goes the body follows. Her father was a very sick man and when you are trying to survive in a realtionship of any kind with an unhealthy person it is a losing battle until if and when they get better to help themselves and others. No matter what environment you are born into it goes to show you that if it doesn't "feel" right it isn't right, your spirit knows and her spirit was damaged, not broken though. By writing her story she has helped herself and others. Mackenzie if you are reading this...please there is no future in the past..concentrate on today and tomorrow.
Grateful2bsober More than 1 year ago
The authors story is proof of where drugs and alcohol take you....Degredation, spritual bankruptcy and an enormous amount of suffering I admire her honesty and courage....anyone struggling with addiction should read this book!
REDSOXXFAN More than 1 year ago
Not long before her fiftieth birthday,Mackenzie Phillips walked into Los Angeles International Airport. She was on her way to a reunion for One Day at a Time, the hugely popular 70s sitcom on which she once starred as the lovable rebel Julie Cooper. Within minutes of entering the security checkpoint, Mackenzie was in handcuffs, arrested for possession of cocaine and heroin. Born into rock and roll royalty, flying in Learjets to the Virgin Islands at five, making pot brownies with her father's friends at eleven, 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, as 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 joinedthe 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, the actor-musician-mother shares her lifelong battle with personal demons and near-fatal addictions. She overcomes seemingly impossible obstacles again and again and journeys towardredemption 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.
glamaris More than 1 year ago
This book had me so caught up in it. I loved the way she spoke...it was just so honest. Regarding the incest...it doesnt matter if people think she was wrong for bringing it up after her dad was dead, it's still a huge and incriminating thing that happened and I think she was very brave to come out with it...even after the fact. I appreciate the fact that she didnt get into gross detail about her sexual relationship with her father...I wasnt sure if I could handle reading THAT. Overall, this book is great and I would highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I began reading Mckenzie Philipps' story I couldn't put it down. Then as she describes her experience with multiple trips into rehab situations, she falsely tries to tell readers that there are doctors and other healthcare professional to blame for her addiction. She lays blame for her problem on others....it's never really is her fault after all. To put into print that most states have a law against doctors gradually reducing your dosage to help wean you off of RX meds is false. Celebrities, especially addicts pouring their hearts for the public, should NOT be allowed to preach about what is legal. Take this book at about 50% true and 50% fairytale written by a fairytale girl.
Ach56 More than 1 year ago
Ten pages into MacKenzie Phillips' book, I was riveted!! This is one woman who lays her very soul nacked in hopes of helping other incest survirors. The turmoil of her life, due to the lack of parenting by her father, the famous John Phillips, and his first wife, left in the dust by his fame and young girlfriend and future wife, Michele Phillips, is heartbreaking. Grown up way before her time, this woman faced a life of pure Hell--brought on by a man totally obsessed with his own need for attention, his drug addiction, and his total lack of learning responsibility in life--not to mention his pedofile sickness and need for utterly posessing people, including his own child. For those unsure of Phillips' testimony to her incestous affair, caused by her sick father, it is a shame you have not read the now out of print Phillips' autobiography, "Papa John." I read it around 20 years ago when it came out and he admitted the drug use with his children without any shame, but omitted the incest. What a sick soul---I thought so then and do now!! I believe each and every word of MacKenzie's story and you should also. This is a must read on any woman's list---and should be on the list of men, also. COMPELLING AND TOUCHING. What a BRAVE WOMAN!!! If you have not read it, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!!
totiedye4 More than 1 year ago
I had just gotten sober from heroin, coke, crack, any type of opiates or pain killers you could throw at me and the devil itself, fentanyl, when I read this book. Granted some of the stories really made me think about all the good times and what not, but I was able to handle it...and I'm glad I did. One of the last things Mac says in her book is about her being better...although she is, she isn't cured...that monster will always be on her back. Looking at it that way has helped me alot..its def kept me from getting cocky after being sober for 2+ years without a single slip up. I am very proud of my fiance and I both for making it this far..but I really thank Mackenzie for saying it like that. I honestly believe with the way I was raised, my family history, everything that I've gone through, and just the fact that I plain down enjoyed being high 24/7, that I will be a drug addict for the rest of my life, but I don't need to be a using drug addict for the rest of my life.
RoamingGypsy More than 1 year ago
Irritatingly repetitive and mind numbingly off point. If the author, as she claimed in an interview with Larry King (as well as in a multitude of interviews with every other talk show in existence), was seeking to champion the largely unrepresented population that is struggling with life threatening addiction, she has done a very poor job. This supposed memoir reads more like a 1970's tabloid article, than the thought provoking journey through self destruction and personal rediscovery that this book was advertised to be. She seems, at times, almost proud of her conquests and her Hollywood minded removal from reality. She seems more focused on opportunistic name dropping than in exploring the true horror of a life consumed by drug addiction and then the eventual mental and physical healing that her story was supposed to exemplify. She does not yet seem well enough to truly have learned anything from her own life story.
steffiebaby140 More than 1 year ago
Not many could write a book about such a traumatic and troubled life yet still maintain a positive outlook on life and a sense of humor. The tough details are written with concise and accurate language but it handled gently enough to avoid upsetting or offending the reader. Even in the midst of a hurricane of pain, Mackenzie Phillips managed to tell it all with a sense of humor and a belief that things will be better. I found it inspiring, touching and a wonderful read. I recommend it for anyone who has been in that same hurrican and thinks they are alone and it won't get any better.
SusieQDean More than 1 year ago
As an avid reader of authorized celeb bios I had no intention of purchasing this book. Just another "poor me" story from some spolied celeb who threw their fame away. Boy was I wrong!!! I receicved this as a Christmas gift & I was riveted from page 1. I respect the author's efforts to tell her story & yet be mindful of how it would affect others. Her tale is both horrifying & uplifting. Both painfully honest & laugh-out-loud funny. Ms Phillips points the finger only at herself & blames no one for the twists & turns her life took. She owned her experiences & I admire that.I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought Ms. Phillip's descriptions were very colorful. I saw a different view of addiction from the inside.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I finished the whole book on a trip from PDX-BOS. Felt like I lived it with her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took a lot for her to tell her story, but it was not as good as I thought it would be.
deboIL More than 1 year ago
I think this book is well written and comes across in a very humble way. She does not seek to place blame for any of her life choices or problems but instead let's you into what was going on in her life and mind when these things occurred. You can feel sympathy for her in this book without having to absolve her of her own responsibility for the things she writes about. I have not walked a mile in her shoes and would therefore not cast judgment on her for her life. I think she is brave woman who has overcome a lot in her life and I wish her all the best for her future. A very compelling, inspiring story!
TallulahCK More than 1 year ago
Well, where to begin. The whole time reading it (and the only reason why I am reading it is because my son is an addict) all I thought of was what a "skank" she is. Delusional and a very high opinion of herself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mackenzie did a wonderful job in writing this book and telling her story. I actually shared a room w/ her while she was in detox at Summerhouse in Florida and she was the sweetest lady I met there. I'm so glad she is finally sober!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I believe your experienced will help other victims of incest and drug abuse. Especially those who are too afraid to face the truth after so many years gone by.
Bev1970 More than 1 year ago
I believed her story, because she admitted her "failures" as a parent, which is difficult to admit for any parent. I am conflicted by how I feel about the sexual relationship she had with her father, but I she was neglected as a child and on drugs at the time so I understand why she didn't say "no". Their relationship was bizarre, but probably not as uncommon as people like me who were never abused think. I hope that she can stay clean and sober, and I appreciate her honesty.
KimKirsch More than 1 year ago
I could not put the nook down. A great story of how money and drugs can make your life truly crazy.
Lynn_C_Tolson More than 1 year ago
Review of "High On Arrival" A Memoir by Mackenzie Phillips Imagine a child knocking on her parent's door to get her father's attention. He says, "Not now, darling, Daddy's shooting up." What does that tell the child about the pervasive self-absorption of drug addicts? Of course, the message to the child is that the drugs are more valuable than any child's desire for love, affection, and attention. Sexual assault, addiction, and suicide are unsolved social problems that carry stigmas. The stigmas cast a code of silence that do not solve problems. Mackenzie has shattered the silence in the most public of venues. She has endured the risk of rejection by her peers, the backlash of a celebrity community that protects its so-called legendary "heroes" like John Phillips, and the untoward questions of ignorant interviewers who ask her about father-daughter incest: "Did you enjoy it?" Furthermore, she has been publicly discredited by her own step-mother, Michelle, who was in a relationship with John Phillips since she was sixteen. Where were her morals? He was an (older) married man with two children. Where were his values? The burden is on the victim (Mackenzie) to relive, recover from, and revitalize a life that was traumatized in a hedonistic family lacking respect and responsibility. If we read between the lines of a story about a rich and famous family, we will see Mackenzie's insight: ". if real stories of love and incest and survival are kept behind the closed doors of therapists' offices and judges' chambers, then current and future victims are destined to do what I did: to weather it alone, to blame themselves, to hide behind drugs." Incest does not just "happen" like a random fender-bender on the freeway. It is a calculated event of power and control and abuse of trust. These real stories are all too rampant in "ordinary" families that do not have the resources for rehabilitation. Mackenzie Phillips wrote a memoir that is candid and cathartic. She makes public a story that is held private, and for that she is courageous. She received the Darkness to Light "Voice of Courage" award at the Circle of Light gala.
leecee797 More than 1 year ago
I was hesitant at first b/c of all the sensationalism behind this book. But it was a great read and quite the page turner. People doubt the authenticity of her accusations, but I believe her, and I think after reading her book you'll see what all the fuss was about. Mackenzie is quite funny and adds humor to something so painful and hard to get over. I highly suggest this book if you enjoy reading where people came from, what they went through, and where they are going.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good book. I do hope that she has finally stopped using and can be clean now. If you don't care for the "F" word---you might not want to read this book.
nickanmaxie More than 1 year ago
I do not know what book that some of the reviewers read.......but this book was outstanding. I read it in two days.
Andrew_of_Dunedin More than 1 year ago
Mackenzie Phillips writes a cautionary tale as to the effect of fame and fortune (and an absentee father, and lots of drugs, and …) that some of today’s young stars would do well to read (or, in the case of the audio book version I had, listen to – narrated by the author, who actually lived it). Hang out with Daddy’s rock friends, where parties and drugs were plentiful and easy to come by. Get a small part in what turned out to be a major film. Get a couple of more films, and a successful TV series. Lose yourself in drugs. Hang out with the “wrong” guys … lose your job due to drug use, get busted … need I continue? Or should I toss in the “go out on tour with Dad’s rock band” and “sleep with the most really wrong guy you could” portions? I’m not telling anything in the above summary that couldn’t be obtained from a few back-issues of People magazine, and in much greater detail. That, in a nutshell, was my biggest disappointment – I’d already read virtually everything mentioned in the book by the time I actually got my copy. Well, that, and Miss Phillips is so intent on not glamorizing her life choices that I often found it hard to root for her, despite my wanting to. How can you write your memoirs and NOT be the most sympathetic character in them?? (OK, her son fills that role; there is a poetic justice in that choice.) RATING: 3 ½ stars, rounded up to 4 stars. (Giving bonus points for the decision to have the author read her own works on the audio – who better to tell the story?)