Sunday, March 03, 2013

Books: Grow up, Sachi (Dona)


Like most people, I'd never heard of Sachi Parker, new 'authoress'  via help from Frederick Stroppel, before Lucky Me.  Sachi is the daughter of Shirely MacLaine and if you're thinking that's about the only reason anyone might be interested in her, well guess what her topic is . . .

That's right, mother Shirley.

I had toyed with reading the book because it was so obvious from the cover (a cute photo of a Sachi and Shirley) and the full title (Lucky Me: My Life With -- And Without -- My Mom, Shirley MacLaine) that this was pure trash.  And anyone who really loves reading loves reading some trash every now and then to howl and share with those around you, "You won't believe what happens next!"

My main concern was Mike had interviewed C.I. on President's Day and Mike had asked about the book because Ava and C.I. had reviewed Shirley's I'm Over All Of That and Other Confessions almost two years ago and they had noted that Shirley didn't mention her daughter in the book.  C.I. hadn't read Sachi Parker's book but clearly thought the book was offensive.   I asked her if she'd be bothered by my reviewing it and she said not at all but she wouldn't read the book herself.

She doesn't need to.

In a series of responses to Mike, C.I. sketched out Sachi Parker as a selfish child who couldn't accept that she got the mother she got. That's really what comes through in page after page.  (C.I. knows Shirley very well and knows Sachi somewhat.)

It's really amazing to me that a 56-year-old woman wrote or 'wrote' this book.  It's poorly written -- even with a co-writer -- and that maturity of the author appears to be somewhere around 14-years-old.

C.I. noted that Sachi had complained repeatedly over the years about Shirley not giving her money to go to college and wondered if that crap was in the book?  Yes, it is.  And not just when Sachi's 18.  She goes into it then and keeps coming back to it and coming back to again.

As C.I. pointed out, she could have asked her uncle (Warren Beatty) for money, she could have applied for grants and loans, but she did nothing.

There's a part of me that wonders if Sachi's functional mentally.  I'm not trying to be rude, I've just never encountered this level of immaturity in a grown up.

For whatever reason, the book tells us, Shirley didn't want to give Sachi money for college.

Well you find your own way.  Do you know how many people are in college right now working their way through?  I went on grants and loans.  My parents couldn't afford to send me to college.  I have no plans to write a book trashing them for it.

From the book, you get the idea that Shirley didn't want to raise a useless Hollywood kid who needed the parent's money to get through life.  She wanted a resourceful child.

If that was the case, Shirley didn't get what she wanted anymore than Sachi did.

It's not just that Sachi can't find money for college.

In the book, Sachi claims that she asked her mother for money when she was pregnant at the age of 27.  This was apparently, "Bankroll my life and my child's and my child's father's life for the next few years so I can have this baby."

Shirley took a pass.

Sachi had an abortion and presents it as her mother's fault.

She was not a 15-year-old girl.  She was 27.  She and her partner David can't afford a baby that they both say they want?  She's 27?

See, she explains/whines, they both can't try to be actors, she writes, and afford a baby and David's parents didn't have any money.

At 27, what your parents have or don't have really isn't the issue.  At 27, you should be paying your own damn bills and, if you want a child, maybe it's time for you and your boyfriend to get real world jobs and stop expecting someone else to pay your way?

Selfish and entitled -- Sachi Parker reeks of both.

She goes on and on for page after page about inconsequential childhood moments that she tries to turn into mega-events  to paint Shirley as the bad woman.  Take, for example, all the pages wasted on the issue of the missing plane tickets.  The school says Sachi and another student had the tickets.  Sachi and the student insist that the school had them.  The tickets are missing and very expensive.  Shirley wants to know what happened to them.  She isolates the girls and questions them individually until Sachi lies and says her friend sold them to make money.

How this is supposed to make Shirley look bad is beyond me but Sachi clearly thinks that she's been wronged in that childhood moment.

She feels wronged a lot.  When her mother accepts an award and thanks all actors, Sachi feels left out -- even though Sachi's at that ceremony as an actor winning an award and even though Shirley only attended because her daughter was winning an award.  When Sachi's career goes nowhere -- 56 years old and she's still convinced her break to movie stardom is just around the corner -- she blames her mother for that as well.  At her most loony, she's raging about a lost part in Closing the Ring (she never manages to mention the title).  She should have been in the film, she writes over and over.  It's directed by Richard Attenborough who loved her when she was a little girl!  And the part is the daughter of Shirley MacLaine's character!  She paints this tale of her mother working to destroy her.  It's an unbelievable tale.  The actress who gets the part?  Neve Campbell.  It was an international production also featuring Brenda Fricker, Christopher Plummer and Mischa Barton.   Neve Campbell means investors, Neve Campbell means media interest, Neve Campbell means potential ticket sales.

Like a child having a tantrum, she bellows and hollers.

Like a child, she has no understanding of the world beyond herself.

This is most obvious when she's 'writing' about Shirley's career.

And here I need to call out Penguin Group USA.  If I were bringing out a title that would be considered shocking and possibly questionable, I think I would firm up everything before publication -- meaning fact check, meaning everything.

So if Sachi's supposed to be in Australia being beat up by a boyfriend and she's explaining that she had to call Shirley on the set of The Turning Point -- where Shirley was playing a mother -- and beg for money for a car, I think I'd want to be sure that I had my facts correct.

For example, Shirley can't be filming The Turning Point in 1979.  The fim came out in 1977.

Moments like this run through the book leading you to not just question Sachi's integrity but also that of the publisher's as well.

Throughout the book, she whines about money.  Yet when her father dies and she's promised a property as well as money and a second property but she ends up with only one property, she lets it go.  Despite it being worth millions, according to her father, despite refusing to sign it over to her step-mother.  She just lets a year pass and allows it to be claimed by someone else.

In what world?

That's what you end up thinking.  Over and over, Sachi Parker offers up questionable tales that fall apart before your eyes if you stop for a moment to question any story she's telling.

The book's pure trash but that alone doesn't make for a good trashy read.  I give this book 3 yawns and a snooze.
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