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Me and My Shadows: A Family Memoir

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The question follows Lorna Luft to this day: "What's it like to be Dorothy's daughter?" Although by appearances glamorous and truly thrilling, growing up as the daughter of Judy Garland was anything but a journey over the rainbow. With unsparing candor, Lorna Luft offers the first-ever insider portrait of one of Hollywood's most celebrated families: a rare story of a litt The question follows Lorna Luft to this day: "What's it like to be Dorothy's daughter?" Although by appearances glamorous and truly thrilling, growing up as the daughter of Judy Garland was anything but a journey over the rainbow. With unsparing candor, Lorna Luft offers the first-ever insider portrait of one of Hollywood's most celebrated families: a rare story of a little girl, her half-sister Liza, and her baby brother trying desperately to hang on to the mother whose life seemed destined to burn brightly but briefly. Lorna makes an extraordinary journey back into the spiral of love, addiction, pain, and loss that lurked behind a charmed facade. Filled with behind-the-scenes dramas, hilarious untold stories, and little-known details of Garland family life, Me and My Shadows is a tribute to Lorna's victory over her own past, a story of hope, of love and its limitations, and a deeply moving testament to the healing powers of embracing one's past and charting a course of self-love and discovery.


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The question follows Lorna Luft to this day: "What's it like to be Dorothy's daughter?" Although by appearances glamorous and truly thrilling, growing up as the daughter of Judy Garland was anything but a journey over the rainbow. With unsparing candor, Lorna Luft offers the first-ever insider portrait of one of Hollywood's most celebrated families: a rare story of a litt The question follows Lorna Luft to this day: "What's it like to be Dorothy's daughter?" Although by appearances glamorous and truly thrilling, growing up as the daughter of Judy Garland was anything but a journey over the rainbow. With unsparing candor, Lorna Luft offers the first-ever insider portrait of one of Hollywood's most celebrated families: a rare story of a little girl, her half-sister Liza, and her baby brother trying desperately to hang on to the mother whose life seemed destined to burn brightly but briefly. Lorna makes an extraordinary journey back into the spiral of love, addiction, pain, and loss that lurked behind a charmed facade. Filled with behind-the-scenes dramas, hilarious untold stories, and little-known details of Garland family life, Me and My Shadows is a tribute to Lorna's victory over her own past, a story of hope, of love and its limitations, and a deeply moving testament to the healing powers of embracing one's past and charting a course of self-love and discovery.

30 review for Me and My Shadows: A Family Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Gibson

    Touching insight about Judy, Liza, and the effects of addictions, but only 2 paragraphs on Grease 2?!?! WTF!?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was interesting enough, with a lot of insight into Judy Garland's spiral at the end of her life. I think Lorna did a good job of portraying what she went through without demonizing Garland; she says numerous times that her mother was under the oppression of pill addiction and that the disease was not her fault or something she could control at the end. She also says many times how much she loved her mother and knew that her mother loved her. So it is not in any way comparable to the books w This was interesting enough, with a lot of insight into Judy Garland's spiral at the end of her life. I think Lorna did a good job of portraying what she went through without demonizing Garland; she says numerous times that her mother was under the oppression of pill addiction and that the disease was not her fault or something she could control at the end. She also says many times how much she loved her mother and knew that her mother loved her. So it is not in any way comparable to the books written by Joan Crawford or Bette Davis' daughters. I admit my interest waned as we got into Lorna's adult years; I really don't know what to think about how she dealt with Liza's issues. I am sure it is all true, but seeing as how she noted in the book that she and Liza were not on speaking terms at the time of the book's publication, one has to wonder if she could have handled it better. Of course, these days the two seem to have patched everything up and Liza may or may not be doing a lot better, so hopefully everything worked out for the best. I do think Lorna may be in denial about some things, especially about how great her dad was and his role in her mother's financial problems. When reading anything about famous people, you have to take it with a grain of salt. People who write autobiographies have reason to sweep things under the rug or minimize events, and people writing unauthorized biographies have reason to sensationalize or go with stories that they don't have firsthand knowledge of. So you just have to pick and choose what stories or notions you find credible.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laure Porché

    A compelling read for anyone who likes Judy Garland, the book is both heartbreaking and funny, and most of all brims with a love for life and joy, and for each other, that transcend the page.

  4. 4 out of 5

    J.H. Moncrieff

    I'm not sure what to think of this one. It was a quick read, and mostly held my interest, even though over half the book takes place after Garland's death. It isn't so much about Garland as it is about Luft and all the celebrities she knows (though I'm sure publishers encouraged the namedropping). These memoirs always make my skin crawl. On one hand, you want the author to tell THE TRUTH about what happened with their families, or whoever the book is ostensibly about. But on the other, you can't I'm not sure what to think of this one. It was a quick read, and mostly held my interest, even though over half the book takes place after Garland's death. It isn't so much about Garland as it is about Luft and all the celebrities she knows (though I'm sure publishers encouraged the namedropping). These memoirs always make my skin crawl. On one hand, you want the author to tell THE TRUTH about what happened with their families, or whoever the book is ostensibly about. But on the other, you can't help but wonder how it would feel if someone categorized your failings in a book from their perspective. (Without you being able to defend yourself.) Judy is dead, but Liza isn't. The end came across as very judgmental on Lorna's part in regards to her sister, and I hope that this memoir didn't hurt Liza or negatively affect her recovery, but I can't see how it wouldn't. It also seemed a little like "the lady doth protest too much." Lorna says over and over that she isn't jealous of her sister's success and vice-versa. First of all, Liza is a star. Of course she's not jealous of Lorna's success in show business. (Not to be mean, but why would Liza be jealous of a bit part on Trapper John MD and Grease 2, one of the worst movies ever made?) And second, I'd find this easier to believe if Lorna wasn't trying hard to be in show business. Since it sounded like she was, and found it frustrating to be known as the "other daughter," how could resentment not play a role? Because of this, her detailed dive into Liza's addictions and her role of saviour came across as bitter and self-righteous. Some reviewers also slammed Lorna's rosy portrayal of her father. I don't know enough about other versions of Sid Luft's role to comment on that, but it did come across as "Other biographers have blamed my dad. Here's the real story." But of course it can't be the real story, because any daughter will be biased, one way or the other. He does come across as the ever-loving saint in this story, and life is usually a bit more nuanced than that. All in all, an interesting read--if you don't mind learning a lot about Lorna's personal trials and tribulations--but I'm glad I'll never be the victim of one of these books. Fame comes with a price, that's for sure.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Koren

    This will probably be the best first hand account of Judy Garland's life you are going to find. This is more a memoir of her daughter's than it is a biography. After Judy's death the story continues about Lorna's relationships and her drug use as well as Liza's. People with a parent that has an addiction will likely identify with a lot of this book. I dont think Judy would be considered a neglectful parent, as when she was clean she was an excellent mother, but when she was using...well, we all This will probably be the best first hand account of Judy Garland's life you are going to find. This is more a memoir of her daughter's than it is a biography. After Judy's death the story continues about Lorna's relationships and her drug use as well as Liza's. People with a parent that has an addiction will likely identify with a lot of this book. I dont think Judy would be considered a neglectful parent, as when she was clean she was an excellent mother, but when she was using...well, we all know a parent cant be attentive to anything else when they are high or drunk and it seems Judy also had a lot of mental issues as well. It would be interesting now to read an unbiased view and compare.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alycia

    Sid Luft the saint. Give me a break.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ivy

    I think it takes a lot of courage to write a book about your own life especially when you come from a family of celebrities. Lorna Luft is getting the same flack that Christina Crawford got because she wrote about her experiences and people don't like that because it means having to see their idols as human and not as the Hollywood gods or godesses they prefer. This book made me laugh and cry, and it made me angry too, but not because she "badmouths" her mother. It made me angry to see a beautif I think it takes a lot of courage to write a book about your own life especially when you come from a family of celebrities. Lorna Luft is getting the same flack that Christina Crawford got because she wrote about her experiences and people don't like that because it means having to see their idols as human and not as the Hollywood gods or godesses they prefer. This book made me laugh and cry, and it made me angry too, but not because she "badmouths" her mother. It made me angry to see a beautiful, talented, woman like Judy Garland, give in to the addiction that took her life. But just as Lorna said, "Judy led a happy life regardless of what others may believe." As for name dropping, it's a silly phrase. If your are raised in a celebrity family and live among celebrities, who are your friends going to be? You have to write about your experiences and that is just what Ms. Luft is doing. Let's remember that this is her point of view. People can argue and disagree over her motives but in the end it's still her point of view. The book has many beautiful family photos and is very well written. Congratulations to Lorna Luft for writing such a wonderful history about her family and not shying away from the grim, sometimes tragic, aspects. It is a life filled with all the colors just like everybody else's--only she lived it in the spotlight.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I've read a few books about Judy Garland so it was interesting to read an account written by one of her children. The timeline of the book wasn't always clear and the story skipped around a bit, but the stories of coping at an early age with her mother's addiction to pills and prescription medication and how she dealt with things after her mother's untimely death were enlightening. There was so much that wasn't understood at the time, about addiction and all that goes with it. I've read a few books about Judy Garland so it was interesting to read an account written by one of her children. The timeline of the book wasn't always clear and the story skipped around a bit, but the stories of coping at an early age with her mother's addiction to pills and prescription medication and how she dealt with things after her mother's untimely death were enlightening. There was so much that wasn't understood at the time, about addiction and all that goes with it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lynsey

    Really candid stories of Judy Garland. I wanted more about her, even though this was somewhat hard to read because her behavior was so erratic. Lorna is an interesting lady, but I got bored and didn't finish. Really candid stories of Judy Garland. I wanted more about her, even though this was somewhat hard to read because her behavior was so erratic. Lorna is an interesting lady, but I got bored and didn't finish.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra the Great

    This book definitely lost my interest after Judy died. Which I know isn't fair, but then again I did really only read this book because I was curious to see Judy through her daughter's eyes. Plus, I know virtually nothing about Lorna Luft's career. I hate to have to pit sisters against each other, but, honestly, couldn't we have gotten a book out of Liza Minnelli instead? I'm sure Lorna is lovely, but after Judy died and there was still three quarters of a book to go, I didn't have fun anymore. I This book definitely lost my interest after Judy died. Which I know isn't fair, but then again I did really only read this book because I was curious to see Judy through her daughter's eyes. Plus, I know virtually nothing about Lorna Luft's career. I hate to have to pit sisters against each other, but, honestly, couldn't we have gotten a book out of Liza Minnelli instead? I'm sure Lorna is lovely, but after Judy died and there was still three quarters of a book to go, I didn't have fun anymore. I will say, however, that this book served as the basis of the most excellent TV movie (of the same name) starring Judy Davis, so that's a positive I guess.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    What an amazing, honestly written, inspiring and sometimes heart wrenching memoir. This was a book I literally couldn't put down. Having always been a fan of Judy, Liza and Lorna's, I kept away from all the other biographies written, but not this one because I knew it would be the real deal. So very often the general public tends to view Hollywood legends and their families as somehow different, but they're not different. They're regular human beings just like everyone else with all the issues, What an amazing, honestly written, inspiring and sometimes heart wrenching memoir. This was a book I literally couldn't put down. Having always been a fan of Judy, Liza and Lorna's, I kept away from all the other biographies written, but not this one because I knew it would be the real deal. So very often the general public tends to view Hollywood legends and their families as somehow different, but they're not different. They're regular human beings just like everyone else with all the issues, problems and the various situations that life throws at you both good and not so good. Kudos to Lorna Luft for writing this memoir and for being you.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bronwyn

    this is the story of lorna lufts life as the little sister of liza minelli, and her life with her sister and their lives as the daughters of the late judy garland before and after their mothers tragic untimely death

  13. 4 out of 5

    John

    As a big fan of Judy Garland I was very keen to read this. 'Me and My Shadows' provides an intimate portrait of Judy through the eyes of one of her children. As such, the early years of Judy's life are explored in less depth compared to her later years. Where the book really excels is in providing a harrowing insight into what it is like living as a child of a parent who is suffering with addiction. The connections Luft draws between her mother's addiction and the subsequent addictions of her ch As a big fan of Judy Garland I was very keen to read this. 'Me and My Shadows' provides an intimate portrait of Judy through the eyes of one of her children. As such, the early years of Judy's life are explored in less depth compared to her later years. Where the book really excels is in providing a harrowing insight into what it is like living as a child of a parent who is suffering with addiction. The connections Luft draws between her mother's addiction and the subsequent addictions of her children was particularly interesting. Luft also makes it clear that Judy's life wasn't a tragedy, despite her problems and that she always tried to make the best of things. This is a great perspective and one that is not necessarily focused on by other biographical treatments. If I had to make a criticism, I would have liked a more in depth look at Judy's MGM years, more info on some of her more famous films such as 'Meet Me in St. Louis' and how her experiences there impacted on her later life I also think that Luft could have been slightly more critical of the Studio's role in Judy's issues. This book is essential reading for any fan of Judy Garland. Best read in conjunction with the film of the same name and perhaps another biography of this legendary woman.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Bemis Abrams

    I found this book to be readable and sincere. Luft shares more inside detail than will ever be available, some moments which are memorably sad and some that reveal the clever, smart Judy that her mother was. This is a book about living with a parent who has an addiction, who also happens to be famous and beloved worldwide. There are very few books about Judy Garland written by women and this will likely be the only one written by her daughters. I read this as part of research for a podcast serie I found this book to be readable and sincere. Luft shares more inside detail than will ever be available, some moments which are memorably sad and some that reveal the clever, smart Judy that her mother was. This is a book about living with a parent who has an addiction, who also happens to be famous and beloved worldwide. There are very few books about Judy Garland written by women and this will likely be the only one written by her daughters. I read this as part of research for a podcast series on Judy Garland I produced for Advanced TV Herstory. Recommend to vintage Hollywood buffs, media and pop culture scholars and of course, fans of Judy Garland, her legacy and music.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Theri Rowen

    Very compelling book and tv movie that i saw years ago. Her mother had so many struggles that she had to over come and face. I also felt that if her mother was maybe more force ful or someone that was mentor to judy then she would've lived. Its also sad that her kids had to sometimes be the parent was also hard to read Very compelling book and tv movie that i saw years ago. Her mother had so many struggles that she had to over come and face. I also felt that if her mother was maybe more force ful or someone that was mentor to judy then she would've lived. Its also sad that her kids had to sometimes be the parent was also hard to read

  16. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    You'd have to really be interested in this family to enjoy or feel like you got anything out of this book. I happen to like Judy Garland so I was mildly interested in this book. However I really didn't learn anything new about Judy. I did pick up a few things I didn't know about Lorna and her sister Liza. You'd have to really be interested in this family to enjoy or feel like you got anything out of this book. I happen to like Judy Garland so I was mildly interested in this book. However I really didn't learn anything new about Judy. I did pick up a few things I didn't know about Lorna and her sister Liza.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paul Monroe

    It's a lovely tribute to Judy Garland's life. If you're not interested in Lorna's life you can stop reading mid through the book (after Judy's funeral) I really enjoyed the firs hand stories of how Judy was as a mother. It's a lovely tribute to Judy Garland's life. If you're not interested in Lorna's life you can stop reading mid through the book (after Judy's funeral) I really enjoyed the firs hand stories of how Judy was as a mother.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joann Stewart

    It was a compelling book relating a lot of truths about being Judy Garlands daughter. I think she was very honest in her portrayal of her mother and family. Lorna’s love shown through. I enjoyed the book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    The way I can think to describe this book is with one word: Sad. It was an honest, account of what it was like to grow up as the daughter of Judy Garland. It took me a while to get through but it was totally worth it. Overall a wonderful read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura Henning

    A really great look into an incredible family. I love Lorna haha

  21. 4 out of 5

    Beth Chase

    Great book..... never knew this family went through so much

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Awful writing, strings of cliches.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ximena Colban

    Sad :(

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lenny

    Learned all about Judy Garland and her children, her husbands, and her addictions.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    First of all, I'm biased. I love Judy and have always seen her as a talented amazing woman. While some of the story seemed unreasonably skewed, this story from Lorna's perspective was well worth reading. I related most to her passages about loving someone with an addiction. I found her self-confrontation about enabling first her mother, and then her sister's addiction incredibly powerful. First of all, I'm biased. I love Judy and have always seen her as a talented amazing woman. While some of the story seemed unreasonably skewed, this story from Lorna's perspective was well worth reading. I related most to her passages about loving someone with an addiction. I found her self-confrontation about enabling first her mother, and then her sister's addiction incredibly powerful.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    It is evident that Lorna Luft was a Daddy’s Girl. She portrays him as a Prince who put up with a lot of crap from her Mom. Nowhere does she mention the mismanagement of Judy’s mother by her father. Judy was a fragile soul that needed a lot of attention. I am sure it would have been rough having Judy Garland as your mother. Too much name dropping in the second half. I am glad she was able to have a happy life as an adult and a mother.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    I never knew that Judy Garland had children besides Liza Minnelli. She had two children with Sid Luft, Lorna and Joe. This is the first book written about Judy Garland by one of her family members, and as such, it is worth reading. Lorna gives a loving but honest telling of her mother's family background, her (Lorna's) own family situation, and then her adult years as a singer and actress in her own right after the death of her mother. A couple of things that were noteworthy for me. First, Lorna I never knew that Judy Garland had children besides Liza Minnelli. She had two children with Sid Luft, Lorna and Joe. This is the first book written about Judy Garland by one of her family members, and as such, it is worth reading. Lorna gives a loving but honest telling of her mother's family background, her (Lorna's) own family situation, and then her adult years as a singer and actress in her own right after the death of her mother. A couple of things that were noteworthy for me. First, Lorna says that MGM did not get Judy Garland addicted to "uppers and downers" and then fire her. The president of MGM was also taking the mediations and pills recommended by their staff at that time, and according to Lorna he even paid for several of Judy's hospitalizations himself. MGM treated her well, it was just that Judy was an addict and she found ways to get her pills from various sources. That was new, because I'd always heard that MGM was at fault. Obviously those who introduced Judy Garland to drugs were at fault, but other people did the same thing she did but did not become addicted, so Lorna leaves the blame where it really goes..... her mother was responsible for her addiction. Second, MGM did not really fire Judy Garland. She was having difficulties in filming, she wanted to do other things, and so they let her finish her contract early and even forgave her a $9000 debt. So all in all, MGM seemed to have handled things as well as they could. The tragic parts of this book involve Lorna as a 12 to 15 year old taking care of Judy Garland when she was drugged or manic. After years of having husband / staff / friends cover up for her and take care of her when she couldn't do it herself.... the husband was divorced, the staff could not be paid so they left, and the friends became tired. What was left was Lorna as a young teenager, left to take care of her addicted mother and protect her younger brother at the same time. Truly tragic.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it was a family biography about Judy Garland, written by her daughter Lorna Luft. I have always been a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz, so obtaining this book was a cult-classic-type action for me to take. The first half of the book detailed Lorna's childhood and her responsibilities as far as dealing with and taking care of her mother. The book really shed light and put to rest rumors around Judy Garland's addictions, behavior, and personality. The second half I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it was a family biography about Judy Garland, written by her daughter Lorna Luft. I have always been a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz, so obtaining this book was a cult-classic-type action for me to take. The first half of the book detailed Lorna's childhood and her responsibilities as far as dealing with and taking care of her mother. The book really shed light and put to rest rumors around Judy Garland's addictions, behavior, and personality. The second half of the book was about Lorna's rise to adulthood after her mother's death, and her rise to stardom having to bear her mother's fame shadowing over her. As with any biography, I liked how open Lorna was, especially her educated reactions to drug addiction and alcoholism. I wish the book had been written in later years to gain a better perspective on the events around Liza Minnelli and the Luft family since then. It was hard for me to put this book down, as I have always been genuinely interested in Judy Garland and her legacy. Great read, even being 12 years out of date!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    I read this book when it first came out in '98, but wanted to read it again, as my book club is reading about famous women this month. I'm really glad I decided to reread it. Luft tells the raw, sometimes shocking, but always loving account of growing up as the daughter of Judy Garland. Despite all the chaos of being caretaker to her drug dependent mother, Lorna has written a book that shows us the humor, intelligence, and love of her mother. The second part of the book is truly insightful as Lo I read this book when it first came out in '98, but wanted to read it again, as my book club is reading about famous women this month. I'm really glad I decided to reread it. Luft tells the raw, sometimes shocking, but always loving account of growing up as the daughter of Judy Garland. Despite all the chaos of being caretaker to her drug dependent mother, Lorna has written a book that shows us the humor, intelligence, and love of her mother. The second part of the book is truly insightful as Lorna, at the Betty Ford Center and through Al-Alon, learns why everyone in her family became addicted to one thing or another. She recognizes she was an enabler and is able to stop the three generation destructive cycle of addiction for the sake of her own children. Really an eye opening read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Well... the jury is really out on this book. It's interesting but I have a feeling that I could get much more detail and see fewer instances of important information being brushed by in another book. This is NOT a biography of Judy Garland, it's more a biography of Lorna Luft, her daughter. Skip the book and watch the TV Miniseries. It was awesome. Was going to read: Get Happy: The life of Judy Garland next but I'm kind or tired of the subject for now though I think it's going to be a more satis Well... the jury is really out on this book. It's interesting but I have a feeling that I could get much more detail and see fewer instances of important information being brushed by in another book. This is NOT a biography of Judy Garland, it's more a biography of Lorna Luft, her daughter. Skip the book and watch the TV Miniseries. It was awesome. Was going to read: Get Happy: The life of Judy Garland next but I'm kind or tired of the subject for now though I think it's going to be a more satisfying experience. As for this one, I finished the Judy Garland parts of the book, then put it down. Gave it away. Not interested in the rest or a re-read.

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