249 of 264 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2013
I decided to give this book a try, since I can relate to psychological abuse, as I'm sure everyone can to some degree. In any case, like another review stated, I found it very fair and balanced. And I have to admit, I was also especially interested in this account, after having had a personal encounter with Shirley Maclaine, once while working at the Jules Stein Eye Institute in the UCLA medical complex. This was back in the 80's, and I was looking forward to meeting the famous actress, since I held a great deal of respect for her spiritual pursuits. But as it turns out, I ended up being quite disappointed. Because from the moment Ms. Maclaine entered the waiting area, she started shouting out personal demands, such as the waiting room furniture needing to be rearranged for her, and other personal demands, that were clearly not part of the services rendered by our staff. At any rate, it became clear to me, and all the other staff, that she was a highly irrational person, clearly seeing herself as "superior in evolution" to every person in that room....which for me, goes against even the basic precepts of spirituality. I will never forget how Ms. Maclaine displayed not one ounce of grace or respect towards anyone around her (and for me, this *is* the most basic trait of *true* spiritual evolution). And how her behavior was more demeaning to herself than anyone else.
In any case, after that encounter, I realized that the universe was teaching me a very important lesson about the appearances that people want to publicize about themselves, and that we can't always believe them....that we always need to go deeper to see the truth. And it also made me see, that people like Ms. Maclaine, who consider themselves to be "superior, spiritual" beings....have clearly been channeling too many, very delusional energies through their bodies. (So much so that, in my opinion, it has probably fragmented her mind, beyond all repair now.) In any case, for these reasons and Ms. Parker's own personal reasons, I highly congratulate her for traversing the obstacle of her mother in this lifetime!
210 of 225 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2013
Shirley MacLaine and Steven Parker were not the worlds first selfish, narcissistic parents. But man, they sure deserve to be included in the Hall of Fame. The incidents of abuse and abandonment are pretty grim and it is remarkable Sachi Parker retained any regard for either parent given the circumstances. This may be one of the saddest tell-all Hollywood books you will ever read, if you elect to read it. When her dad wasn't snuggling up to her in an open kimono, her mother was torturing her with some sadistic form of tough love, with her father's Machiavellain Japanese mistress hovering in the shadows.
This placed Ms. Parker at the periphery of her own life. She existed only in reference to the definition her monstrous parents gave her.
She is a winning sort, Ms. Parker, with all the pluck of a Dickens heroine.
And Shirley? Well, given that Ms. MacLaine has told us ad naseum about her experiences with other lives and extraterrestrials, It should come as no surprise that the crux of the book involves something of both.
It was a tough book to read, frankly. There is a lot of what I would call filler, the mundane stuff of a life that seems to have been on hold, waiting for some kind of permission to begin. Sachi keeps asking for things that both of her parents are incapable of offering.
As an aside, I would ask Ms. MacLaine, given her rather broad statement about the book's veracity, what parts are lies exactly. Did she give her daughter up at age two? Did she believe all that claptrap her husband fed her about clones and send him money every month thinking it was going to NASA? This business about lies and liars is a two-way street. She seems to have latched onto this moniker for her daughter fairly early on. Given the inherent selfishness in her abandonment of her daughter at age two, her free expression of fantasies over fact, I would say she has scant ground to stand on.
So caveat emptor. This is no camp joy ride of Hollywood excess and diva bromides. it is a very sad tale. I wish Ms. Parker well. I would give her two pieces of advice:
1) Keep acting. It gives you joy.
2) Walk away from Shirley MacLaine and keep walking.
236 of 255 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2013
I decided to read this because I am always curious how people who claim to be spiritual are perceived by those who know them.
The spiritual person in question is actress Shirley Maclaine and the verdict isn't great.
This book is a memoir by her daughter Sachi Parker, an actress herself who seems to have spent most of her life longing for her mother's love (and not getting it).
The text is comprised chronogically, starting with Sachi's lonely childhood in Japan with her complex father and his cold mistress. Basically MacLaine wrote in one of her autobiographies that she sent her young daughter to live with her husband in Japan claiming it was to keep her daughter Sachi safe from kidnapping threats. As an adult, Parker questions the veracity of her mother's account and indicates that MacLaine's disinterest in being a parent allowed her father (and MacLaine's husband) to use her as a pawn in his manipulations against her mother.
Sachi's father (and MacLaine's husband) was a business man named Steve Parker. As the book goes on, the reader learns that he pulled off an almost-unbelievable three-decade's long con on MacLaine, bilking her of millions of dollars. Even knowing of MacLaine's new age beliefs, the details of this con were jaw dropping. I don't want to spoil this for you: All I will say is NASA, the Pleiades, and a clone figure in the mix.
Throughout the memoir, Parker describes struggling with her self-esteem and in finding sincere men to date. She tries hard to excuse her mother's neglect and selfish behavior, but Maclaine does not come out as the better parent. Near the end, in particular, MacLaine's former publicist pulls Parker aside and discloses some painful truths about MacLaine's (alleged) sabotaging of Parker's efforts to be cast as MacLaine's daughter in a film.
At first, the author does not want to believe that her mother would do that to her, but she comes to feel that the allegations are true. Even with what she must see as a betrayal, what separates this book (for me) from being a "Shirley Dearest" is that Parker's longing for her mother's love and approval is almost palpable.
As I finished the book, I came to feel that Parker is carrying a lot of pain and I believe that her intentions in writing this are to make sense of some very confusing emotions and life events, not to settle scores.
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2013
Before I read 'Lucky Me: My Life With--and Without--My Mom, Shirley MacLaine, I never had a definitive opinion of this actress. And I refer to her as an actress, not only because it is Ms. MacLaine's chosen profession, but because the moniker's 'mother', 'grandmother' and 'decent human being', seemed to be 'professions' she wanted no part of.
Sachi Parker, the author and only child of Oscar winning actress, Shirley MacLaine, tells a very familiar, yet disturbing tale of her life. Familiar, because there are bookstores and libraries, littered with books from the children of celebrities, that have truly horrifying stories of abuse to share with the general public.
But Ms. Parker's story is not quite horrifying, as it is pathetic. Her father, a man named Steve Parker was nothing short of a con artist. And I'm sorry, because I know this is a terrible thing to say, much less type, but Shirley MacLaine, came across first and foremost as a total flake! There is a reveal in this book that is too ridiculous to be believed and yet it is heartbreakingly true. The reader would wonder how a woman like Ms. MacLaine was able to reach the pinnacle of success, being that stupid. And her 'stupidity' in this situation, is the direct reason Sachi's childhood was the mess that it was.
There is something else in this book, that stands out and is mentioned time and time again. Ms. MacLaine, is ridiculously cheap and tightfisted with a buck. One might think that she just doesn't want to spoil the daughter she barely raised. Additionally, MacLaine voiced her belief that Sachi should attempt to make it in the acting world on her own--since MacLaine herself did.
BUT, I will never understand, rich people that come from impoverished backgrounds, that have children that they do raise in splendor, turning around and expecting their children to 'start at the bottom like they did'. I think it's unrealistic. And I don't believe for two seconds that any actress in Hollywood, gets to the top on her own. Either nepotism or a casting couch is involved and Ms. MacLaine's beginnning was probably no different, despite what she wanted Sachi to believe.
I gave this book five stars for two reasons: one, it deserved it. But second, Sachi Parker does not come across as a woman who is writing a tell all book about her mother, to be mean or vindictive. I believe writing this book was therapy for her. My sincere hope is that she can actually let Shirley's crap go and not let it infest her own beautiful family.
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
This is no "Mommy Dearest"--Sachi Parker unquestionably adores her mother and is frustrated that she's out of touch with her. But somehow I don't think this book of hers, which is generally well written (note to "Lucky Me" proofreader: change "felicity" to "facility" on page 176) and engrossing, will serve as the bridge to some kind of permanent reconciliation. In fact, I won't be surprised if Shirley MacLaine sics her lawyers on her own daughter for libel.
I was a huge fan of Ms. MacLaine's for decades--read her books, saw her perform, watched her movies--until it was forcefully brought home to me that, while she may be a talented performer, she's not the spiritually evolved person she claims to be. In my opinion, whatever spirituality she may have is nurtured in the name of fame. Some years ago I had an ill-fated, puzzling business interaction with her through her "people". Long story short, it eventually became clear to me that she's thin-skinned, vengeful, rude, heartless, humorless, egomaniacal, and very much a worshiper of her own stardom as well as an obsessive controller of her public image.
So I sympathize with Sachi and I believe her. If not for the unpleasant experience I had with "the MacLaine Machine", I would be incredulous about what she writes in this book, because so much of it sounds jaw-droppingly far-fetched. Rich, famous Shirley and her conniving absentee husband Steve/Paul come across as all too human--often sub-human. They deserve each other, but she doesn't deserve them. I see Sachi as a self-effacing, sane, forgiving person who's had a tough life dominated by self-absorbed parents who were both nuts, and who, in a fair world, would have been arrested on charges of abandonment, neglect, and long-term physical and mental abuse of their child.
I hope Sachi makes lots of money off of this book. I also hope her mother wakes up and does what she needs to do to purge all the bad karma that she's accumulated in this incarnation regarding her daughter.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2013
I think it took a lot of courage to write this story , and it had to be depressing to see on paper that one is the progeny of two selfish and uncaring individuals who simply do not value you . Sachi's mother did not believe mothering to a valuable commitment of her energy, time , or talents. As a matter of fact , Sachi probably felt she was viewed as an impediment to her mother's goals and activities . Shirley should have put her daughter up for adoption to parents who would have loved her , given the history that shows she had almost no interest in parenting .
Having two parents who do not value you is a difficult burden and hard to overcome , even if the parents are "stars ".
The story is not a hatchet job , is well told , and is kinder to Ms McClain than she deserves .
47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2013
This is not a "Mommy Dearest" affair, where the child suffers relentless emotional and physical abuse. It is more a suffering of a so-close, yet so-far estrangement from a child and her parents; that festers a lack of personal confidence and security in the child's adult years. Sachi Parker never hints of harboring lasting resentments against either of her parents, and in fact, many good memories of times she spent with Shirley are told. The major obstacle appears to be the deliberate boundary Shirley constructed between everyone and her career ambition. This was far beyond the concept of "working mother". Shirley McClaine was hell-bent on being a major success, and nothing, or no one, was going to be permitted to be an obstacle to that. After reading this, Ms. McClaine is not likely to win your vote for the Parenting Oscar, (although all parents know it's not a walk in the park). There are many secrets in the parent's relationship that the child yearns to learn and reconcile.
(Parental guidance: not recommended for children under 16, as explicit adult behavior is periodically described.)
Women, are likely to love this book more than men, because of its mother/daughter relationship-dynamic reasons.
Not every chapter here is captivating, however, there are some astounding stories told here. I do honestly believe that Sachi is telling the truth, and Shirley's legacy will hereafter - forever be tarnished. For Ms. McClaine, there appears to be little other option than to: "Shut up, and deal (with it)".
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2013
A few years back I saw an episode of late-night t.v. where Shirley MacLaine had a guest appearance. During her vignette I was aware of her demeanor, & expressions. She was on some self-important celebrity tangent about her friendship w/Frank Sinatra like it was some exclusive occurrence to the survival of mankind, & all I could think was "wow, is this broad full of herself or what!" The camera pulled away focusing on her facial expression, her nose held high in the air w/an arrogant expression, & I thought "boy, someone sure is holding court!"
So recently when I read about the release of Parker's book which detailed a lonely childhood at the hands of neglectful, self-absorbed, shady Hollywood parents, I immediately thought back to her appearance on the Late Show & said "well, there it is!" Her art imitated life...at least her life.
Lucky Me may seem tabloid-esque on the surface, however, it is well-written, objective, & often redeeming of MacLaine. Parker talks about "walks on the beach" w/her mother, & later, how her mother rescued her from an abusive boyfriend. Also, how MacLaine would read bedtime fairy tales to her, & paid for expensive boarding schools. Ultimately, though, this proves infrequent, as she's shipped back to Japan to live w/ her shady father (her primary caretaker) & his cruel mistress once her mother grew bored or returned to filming. The book reveals how MacLaine was bilked out of millions by her estranged husband due to an absurd tale involving "outer space & a clone," Parker's dad's inappropriate behavior w/her, & MacLaine callously throwing Parker to the wolves upon high school graduation. She refuses to pay for college, by declaring "you're on your own now!" Not to mention MacLaine's plausibly subversive & demeaning attempts to squelch Parker's acting career.
Through it all, Parker eeks out an honest, & meager existence often relying on the kindness of strangers during tough times. She bounces from one waitress job to another, finally, reaching the pinnacle of waitress jobs...flight attendant, & sometimes winds up in a bad relationship or two. It's possible some of the story may be far-fetched, but I believe the goings on between both parents are accurate for the simple fact that what kind of mother permanently sends their child to a foreign country alone? How can someone that fancies themselves as so "spiritually evolved" & "superior" as MacLaine does, be so egotistical & self-centered as to not even help their own kid out with college? She completely goes against the basic tenets of these ancient philosophies she espouses. Where's MacLaine's gratitude in having power but not really using any of it for good? I could understand not wanting to engage in nepotism. Who knows, Parker may not have the acting talent her mother does? However, I do think it is a parent's responsibility to give their child a chance if they're financially able in terms of college. Also, why maliciously & consciously set someone (especially, a "loved one") up for a fall?
A must-read, page-turner for sure! It illuminated Hollywood's corrupt tactics from the vantage point of a celeb's child trying to get a break. Hang in there Sachi w/regards to your mother, as my mother always told me, "if the police don't get you, karma will!"
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2013
As a former personal trainer to what could be known as the Beverly Hills-Bel Air crowd, circa mid-to-late 1980's, I can testify without having met Sachi Parker that her heartbreaking and soul-baring memoir is quite likely close to, if not fully, 100% true. I honestly don't think Ms. Parker made up any of this, even the really out in left field (or out on a limb) crazy stuff. The L.A. film community is legion when it comes to occasions of really deplorable, egomaniacal bad behavior, especially towards us service industry drones, and alas, sometimes to their kids as well. There's a lot of megalomania up in those hills. I do know whereof I speak.
One of my 4-days a week clients, a very big name multi-hyphenate in the film community with a well equipped home gym (screenwriter/producer/director--let's call him Mr. A), worked with Ms. MacLaine in a number of modalities for a couple of years, often intimately (on a strictly platonic basis). Like most of my clients, Mr. A would share things with me during our training sessions in confidence, knowing that I was a trusted confidante, and I wouldn't go around spilling his "insider stuff" about the Hollywood A-list crowd he often ran around with; I never have, Mr. A's trust in me is well founded.
What I am willing to say is that there were multiple episodes of considerably less-than-fun, "I'm a HUGE STAR" encounters Mr. A had with Ms. MacLaine (some of which are on the same mind-blowing, you-have-to-be kidding-me levels as those found in Ms. P's sad book) which make all of Sachi Parker's allegations ring absolutely, dead-on true for me. If I went into detail, it would serve no purpose other than to pile on more ugliness onto what is undoubtedly a lifetime of these unfortunate behavior patterns. Those who have posted comments here maligning Sachi for her supposedly made-up "Shirley Dearest" tell-all are sorely mistaken, in my view; this book could have been aptly titled The Sad Truth.
It's genuinely a tragedy beyond words that a woman who has traipsed around the globe, (sometimes with Mr. A), relentlessly searching for the golden nuggets of life's great mysteries, and shared with her readers her many pearls of metaphysical wisdom in her books, has completely and totally failed to apply many of those very mystical insights to her own life, and to her own child. Ms. MacLaine has completely missed the boat when it comes to one simple fact in life: Giving Feels Good. That she might actually leave this earth without having lovingly shared of herself--to say nothing of even a semblance of financial kindness--with her own flesh and blood, makes me wonder what really goes on in that head of hers. Perhaps a few more acupuncture-triggered past life regression sessions would help her zero in on why she chose to be so cruel and cold to her own daughter this time around.
As for shipping off your 2 year old child to a foreign country in another hemisphere with only flight attendants as her guardians during this multi-day voyage, well... doesn't that really pretty much say it all?
My heart goes out to you, Sachi Parker. I believe your words. That you've taken all these years of psychological abuse from both of your parents and are still managing a normal life with your own family is a testimonial to your inner mettle and strength of spirit. I salute you for your courage in sharing your story, and wish you only the best. Having come from a similarly screwed up family unit (just on a different scale), since you may never hear "I'm sorry I hurt you", know that I know where you're coming from--from one reasonably well reassembled damaged kid to another. Soldier on.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2013
Interesting read, I always thought Shirley MacLaine was great, but a little whacky too. I could see why her mother did not appreciate her writing it, but it was a good read and I believed every word of it.