Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein

Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein

by Jamie Bernstein

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The oldest daughter of revered composer Leonard Bernstein offers a rare look at her father on the centenary of his birth—illuminating a man, a city, and an era that defined modern culture—in a deeply intimate and broadly evocative memoir reminiscent of Alexandra Styron’s Reading My Father and Richard Ford’s Between Them.

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 inveterate partygoer Leonard Bernstein was a massive celebrity during one of the headiest periods of American cultural life, and perhaps the most talented musician in American history.

To his eldest daughter, Jamie, he was all that and more; he was the man in the scratchy brown bathrobe that smelled of cigarettes, who sat late at night at the piano when he couldn’t sleep (he could never sleep). An incredible jokester, an incessant teacher, he taught her to love the world in all its beauty and complexity. In public and 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 populate 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 deeply complex and sometimes troubled man and the beautiful music that was the soundtrack to his life. Deeply moving and often hilarious, Bernstein’s beautifully written memoir is great American story about one of the greatest Americans of the modern age.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062641373
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/12/2018
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 100,242
File size: 21 MB
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About the Author

Jamie Bernstein is a writer, broadcaster, and filmmaker. She travels the world as a concert narrator. Her documentary, Crescendo: The Power of Music, is available on Netflix. She lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

1 The Osborne 1

2 The Vineyard and Redding 17

3 Park Avenue and Fairfield 33

4 The First Shadows 49

5 The Beatles Portal 59

6 Summer Games 69

7 A Little Teen in '60s New York 79

8 School, Family, and the World 87

9 Stone Teen 99

10 One Toe Out of the Nest 119

11 Shifting Grounds 139

12 Not Really Grownup 157

13 Here Come the Terrors 179

14 Crawling from the Wreckage 215

15 The East-West Shuffle 241

16 Quiet-ish 255

17 Redding, Wecord, and What Was in Between 275

18 Forward Motion 289

19 An Arrival 303

20 A Departure 315

21 Life Goes On 329

22 A New Millennium 343

23 The Venezuela Connection 351

24 Lately 359

Acknowledgments 367

Image Credits 375

Index of Names 379

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