Peter Carrick has found in Liza Minelli the soft, gullible, almost-too-warm-hearted "place" that makes her one of the best-known performers in the history of pathos-heavy posturing. He locates, with the precision of a man truly at once in love with and at odds with his subject and himself, the part of Liza that makes her fans dance as if they (we) were in some sort of traveling revival--speaking in tongues and crying in praise to all of that which we cannot know. In his third chapter, Carrick is at his best. His words flow out of his pen as if the pen were too full, and poorly contructed: with an ooze at once graceful and horrifying. His passage on the sadness in Liza's laugh is especially gratifying--in part because it is only implicit and never overtly addressed as such in the corpus. Carrick leaves the reader with a picture of Liza--as an imp--childishly surrendering to the whimsical demands made on her by forces that deserve no respect. This lack of respect would be obvious to anyone not looking for a scapegoat. Instead, Liza wants to be a victim--she wants to cry for help like a child and then to reject the tender hand that reaches out to her, all in the name of continued sadness. Only then, as Carrick points out, might she continue to perpetuate the ill-directed love that people feel for her. Such rhetorical strategies on her part both constitute a talent and mask the glaring fact that Liza's talents are found only in her ability to appear vulnerable in the face of a life of money, ill-begotten fame, and unwarranted sympathy. Carrick as an author is himself a sort of dancer--a dancer with cake and pies and all things fresh and good; tumbling down the steps with one too many coconut cream pies, as Liza counts and laughs and cries all at once in a single, huge burst of the emotion that makes her who Carrick thinks she is--the same person he feels he _should_ be. This book is the best treatment yet of Liza--it is must-reading for all those for whom the Over the Rainbow is but a mother's kiss away.