Donated Book – Now available at Samuels Public Library
Front Royal Women's Resource Center and Royal Oak Bookshop co-sponsor donations to Samuels Public Library that are by or about women. Nan Hathaway, Book Donation Sponsor & Coordinator, chooses our books each year. Thank you Nan!
We highlight one of these books every third week each month. Our 2019 Book Reviews and Commentaries are provided by JoEllen McNeal. Thank you JoEllen!

Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing up Bernstein
By Jamie Bernstein

Commentary

“You think you had a complicated father? In this wry and clear-eyed, ardent, and altogether terrific memoir, Jamie Bernstein lets us in on what it’s like to have a childhood as fraught as it was charmed. Plus, great gossip!” -Patty Marx

The composer of On the Town and West Side Story, chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic, television star, humanitarian, friend of the powerful and influential, and the life of every party, Leonard Bernstein was an enormous celebrity during one of the headiest periods of American cultural life, as well as the most protean musician in twentieth-century America.

But to his eldest daughter, Jamie, he was above all the man in the scratchy brown bathrobe who smelled of cigarettes; the jokester and compulsive teacher who enthused about Beethoven and the Beatles; the insomniac whose composing breaks at four a.m. involved spooning baby food out of the jar. He taught his daughter to love the world in all its beauty and complexity. In public and in private, Lenny was larger than life.

In Famous Father Girl, Bernstein mines the emotional depths of her childhood and invites us into her family’s private world. A fantastic set of characters populates the Bernsteins’ lives, including the Kennedys, Mike Nichols, John Lennon, Richard Avedon, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, and Betty (Lauren) Bacall.

An intoxicating tale, Famous Father Girl is an intimate meditation on a complex and sometimes troubled man, the family he raised, and the music he composed that became the soundtrack to their entwined lives. Deeply moving and often hilarious, Bernstein’s beautifully written memoir is a great American story about one of the greatest Americans of the modern age.
Jamie Bernstein is a writer, broadcaster, and filmmaker. She travels the world as a concert narrator and her documentary, Crescendo: The Power of Music, is now available on Netflix. She lives in New York City.

2019 October Book Commentary