• Get Happy

  • The Life of Judy Garland
  • By: Gerald Clarke
  • Narrated by: Erin Bennett
  • Length: 16 hrs and 26 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (118 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

She lived at full throttle on stage, screen, and in real life, with highs that made history and lows that finally brought down the curtain at age 47. Judy Garland died over 30 years ago, but no biography has so completely captured her spirit - and demons - until now.

From her tumultuous early years as a child performer to her tragic last days, Gerald Clarke reveals the authentic Judy in a biography rich in new detail and unprecedented revelations. Based on hundreds of interviews and drawing on her own unfinished - and unpublished-autobiography, Get Happy presents the real Judy Garland in all her flawed glory.

Here are her early years, during which her parents sowed the seeds of heartbreak and self-destruction that would plague her for decades...the golden age of Hollywood, brought into sharp focus with cinematic urgency, from the hidden private lives of the movie world's biggest stars to the cold-eyed businessmen who controlled the machine...and a parade of brilliant and gifted men-lovers and artists, impresarios and crooks-who helped her reach so many creative pinnacles yet left her hopeless and alone after each seemingly inevitable fall.

©2000 Gerald Clarke (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about Get Happy

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A good book, but...

I've loved Judy forever, and looked forward to reading this. The narrator is excellent and intimate:
you feel as if this is a conversation between two close friends.
the story of Judy's life is public, due to many 'truth tellers,' we know the ending of the
story before we even begin: the warning is this: If you've had addiction problems, or
if you've had a loved one in the throes of addiction, the latter parts of the book may trigger you.
Perhaps we understand addiction better today than in the time of Judy, but she was a hard-core,
no-holds-barred addict: her behaviors are shockingly revelatory. Sadly, her early years prepared
her for addiction: her life was ruled by parents, studios, society: she rarely had to make life decisions,
so when she was forced to stand up and be an 'adult,' she was incapable of doing so.
Much of her life was planned from the 'get-go..' her parents were in 'show biz,' so that's all she knew.
Her only goal was approval and adulation, which are fleeting. When she sunk, she lacked the tools to
make her own life without the 'ups and downs' of approval. I hope as a culture we have learned from the
tragic lesson in Judy's story...

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wow

This book was exquisitely and lovingly told. Thank you for bringing Judy to life for me.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Tragic?

What a journey. Judy was filled with talent and accomplished what so many dream of having yet through mental illness threw it all away. The Golden Age of Hollywood has a magic that is missing and yet this story shows the raw truth behind the glamor and lights. Judy almost seemed to be her own worth Enemy. She had no skills outside of her natural born abilities; unable to be independent, blind to those robbing her, neglectful towards those genuinely trying to save her. Her death is tragic. Yet maybe was the release she needed from her demons.

Definitely worth a listen.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

This could’ve been a lot better I was just bored with most of it too many clever sayings and not enough good content.

1 person found this helpful

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Compelling biography

Clarke did a masterful job of weavung together the many elements making her star rise so brightly. The narration was top rate! I appreciate Judy's talent even more for having read it and am grateful this honest telling was unflinching but never uncaring.

1 person found this helpful

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A white hot mess of a life

Gerald Clarke excels at writing thoughtful and clear-eyed biographies of tormented souls; his biography of Truman Capote made me eager to read his book on Judy Garland and it did not disappoint. I thought that I knew all the details about her tragic life, but this book was a revelation. Without casting her as a helpless victim, misunderstood genius or drug-addled lunatic, Gerald Clarke presents a life of a woman with severe mental illness and addictions whose problems were exacerbated by bad luck, bad decisions, bad men and bad timing. At the same time, she was a brillant performer and was lost when one professional door after another closed on her, largely because of her addictions and possible bipolar disorder. The trajectory of her life and career was even more heartbreaking than I'd thought, and I ended the book understanding how she wore out and alienated the people who cared about her, and attracted people who were out to use and exploit her. It's sad that the kind of resources that are available now weren't available during her lifetime. The narration was perfect.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed it.

It took a minute for me to get used to the voice. This is not a first person narrative. However after I adjusted the audio book was very good. I did not know anything about Judy Garland. I only became Interested after watching "Judy" on TV. I did not know that Liza Minnelli was her daughter. I learned a lot and it was sad like so many other great artists.

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Yawn

I’ve read many fascinating riveting biographies in my life. This was not one of them. Many obvious areas of interest that went unexplored or under-explored, such as her relationship with Micky Rooney. In any event I found the book tedious to finish. Like homework on Sunday afternoon.