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A definite front-runner for Most Obnoxious Book of the Year: pianist Meyer's sleazy, gushy, self-serving account of his two-month affair (in 1968) with the self-destructive, down-on-her-luck Judy Garland. They met through a friend of Meyer's who was supposedly fashioning a new act for Garland; it was campy rapport at first sight. (""We had been suddenly blasted, propelled into this shared frame of reference, and, to me, it was as if an exhilarating breath of the ionosphere had pervaded this tacky restaurant. . . ."") In no time ""I WAS KISSING JUDY GARLAND! It was all I could think of. I'm kissing. . . I'm kissing. . . GOD."" Soon there's sex, partying, performing together in a nightclub (Judy loves would-be-songwriter Meyer's tunes, of course). Meyer starts trying to patch together Judy's wretched career, straightening out her IRS problems (""my God, it was a battle""), making eloquent speeches to agents, playing for Judy at a Harold Arlen tribute: ""And then I thought. . . how lucky I was to be given this intimate chance to help, to touch, to know Judy, to run with the rainbow, to keep it polished and lighted and glowing for our moment together."" But things quickly get rough, with pill-dependent Judy a possessive, insecure, often-cruel girlfriend; she's in and out of the hospital; there's a grim fight with the producer of the Merv Griffin Show; the lovers have spats and reconciliations, with Meyer realizing that their love is ""impossible."" And, indeed, five days after breaking up, Judy marries somebody else (""That bitch. After all I did for her""), then dies--and Meyer ends up cursing her some more (""she let me down, goddamit, she blew it for me. She was crazy, she was a fuckin' lunatic"") and vowing to transfer his ""crusading energy"" to his songwriting career. Doubly pathetic--and only for those connoisseurs of camp who haven't already had their fill of Garland-in-decline exploitation.

Pub Date: Aug. 26th, 1983
Publisher: Doubleday