I’m pleased to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for the unique and irresistible My Judy Garland Life by Susie Boyt. Thank you to Anne Cater and Virago Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this fascinating book.
About the book:
Reissued in Virago Paperback in September 2019
June 2019 is the 50th anniversary of Judy Garland’s death
August 2019 is the 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz
October 4th the motion picture JUDY starring Renee Zellwegger and Jessie Buckley is released in the UK
An irresistible mixture of memoir, biography, cultural analysis, experiment and hero-worship about one person’s enduring fascination. This is for anyone who has ever nursed an obsession or held a candle to a star.
Judy Garland has been an important figure in Susie Boyt’s world since she was three years old; comforting, inspiring and, at times, disturbing her. In this unique book Boyt travels deep into the underworld of hero-worship, reviewing through the prism of Judy our understanding of rescue, consolation, love, grief and fame.
Layering key episodes from Garland’s life with defining moments from her own, Boyt demands with insight and humour, what it means, exactly, to adore someone you don’t know. Need hero worship be a pursuit that’s low in status or can it be performed with pride and style? Are there similarities that lie at the heart of all fans? And what is the proper husbandry of a twenty first century obsession, anyway?
‘When Judy sang to me as I grew older she seemed to confirm things that I’d all my life held to be true:’
* Things that are hard have more of life at their heart than things that are easy.
* All feelings, however painful, are to be prized.
* Glamour is a moral stance.
* The world is crueller and more wonderful than anyone ever says.
* Loss, its memory and its anticipation, lies at the heart of human experience.
* Any human situation, however deadly, can be changed, turned round and improved beyondrecognition on any given day, in one minute, in one hour.
* You must try to prepare for the moment that you’re needed for the call could come at any time.
* There are worse things in life than being taken for a ride.
* If you have a thin skin all aspects of life cost more and have more value.
* Loyalty to one other is preferable to any other kind of human system.
* Grief is no real match for the human heart, which is an infinitely resourceful organ.
About the author:
I’m sure most of us have obsessed over a celebrity at some point in our lives, most likely when we were going through our hormone drenched teenage years. I know I have. And I’m not ashamed to say that I still do get a little bit fangirly from time to time. I enjoy being a fan, it makes me happy. And although I would never take it as far as some obsessive fans do, I get why people do it.
So I could relate to Susie Boyt and her love for the legend that is the beautiful and talented Judy Garland of The Wizard of Oz and A Star is Born fame. I could especially relate to how her love of Judy helped her when she was a painfully shy and sensitive child. I was a child just like Susie, only my escape was to the world of books and the magic held within their pages. For Susie it was the glamorous but tragic world of Judy Garland.
I found the parts of the book that gave us insights into Judy Garland’s life fascinating to say the least. A woman with such immense talent, but who was troubled for much of her life. She’s one of the biggest stars to have ever graced the silver screen, but was still insecure and neurotic, worried about her weight and always had a vulnerability to her that was most likely part of her appeal. All she ever wanted was to be loved unconditionally, but sadly she died from an accidental overdose before she ever fulfilled that desire, a woman who had so much to offer taken way too soon. Heartbreakingly sad.
But My Judy Garland Life doesn’t just delve into the tragedy of Judy’s life, it also showed her as a woman who had many happy times in her life. She had just as many good times as she had bad, so it was incredibly sad that it was the darkness that won out in the end. She brought so much happiness to so many people, myself included. I remember spending many happy hours as a child watching her movies, singing along to the songs and feeling such admiration for this beautiful young woman who appeared to have everything.
Susie Boyt has written a book that not only celebrates the life of an everlasting legend, but also explores the lengths some fans go to in the name of their obsession. I’ve seen it myself at fan conventions and it can be quite scary at times to see people teetering on the brink of taking their obsession with a celebrity just that little bit too far.
The author seems very aware of how far she goes in her own obsession, but feels that the positives far outweigh any of the negatives. She can’t understand why she should give up something that brings her such joy and, to be honest, I can see her point to a degree. As long as being a fan of someone isn’t doing anyone else any harm, why not? Who are we to judge or stop anyone from doing something that makes them so happy? And Susie Boyt seems to be very happy with the decisions she’s made in her life.
A unique and irresistible book unlike any I have ever read before, My Judy Garland Life is a fascinating read that will stay with me. Part memoir, biography, cultural analysis, experiment and hero-worship about one person’s enduring fascination, this is a book that will appeal to anyone who has ever obsessed over a celebrity in the past (or maybe even the present?).
An intriguing and insightful book that I would recommend.
My Judy Garland Life by Susie Boyt is available to buy now: Amazon UK
Follow along with the blog tour to see what these other bloggers have to say about this memorable book: