Me and My Shadows

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

ME AND MY SHADOWS: A FAMILY MEMOIR opens with a history of Judy Garland, who began performing at the age of two. At age seventeen she was both a star and a regular consumer of movie studio prescribed stimulants. By the time Lorna Luft was born to her and Sid Luft in November, 1952, Judy Garland had been married three times, lost her contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and was so thoroughly drug addicted that her career was already being affected. Lorna Luft’s early recollections were of a peaceful and stable life, well protected from her parents’ marital and financial difficulties. The family problems were more severe and more public by the time Lorna was ten. Six years later she would be the last child to leave her mother, no longer able to tolerate physically or emotionally Judy Garland’s drug-ridden and self-destructive behavior.

Lorna Loft was only sixteen when her mother died. Although she soon began performing herself, her late teens and young adult life were already scarred by her dysfunctional upbringing. Finally, two children and one divorce later, she began to realize the extent of her rebellion against her mother’s fame and the vulnerability of the entire family to substance abuse. Now happily remarried and drug free, she and her family live in Los Angeles.

“It is hard to be a legend’s child,” says Lorna Luft in the opening passages of ME AND MY SHADOWS. The burden of her mother’s fame, the destructive influence of substance abuse, and a deep sense of family love and loyalty permeate this book. In spite of everything, Luft has persevered. Peace and reconciliation with the past appear to be well within her grasp. One hopes the same will be true of the rest of her family.