Famous Father Girl by Jamie Bernstein
A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein

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Jamie reflects sensitively about her mother, who died of cancer in 1978, and the particular challenges faced by her brother and sister. A cleareyed portrait of a spirited, and troubled, family.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

The oldest daughter of revered composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein offers a rare look at her father on the centennial of his birth in a deeply intimate and broadly evocative memoir

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 4 a.m. composing breaks 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 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.

 

About Jamie Bernstein

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Published June 12, 2018 by Harper. 400 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Famous Father Girl
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Apr 03 2018

Jamie reflects sensitively about her mother, who died of cancer in 1978, and the particular challenges faced by her brother and sister. A cleareyed portrait of a spirited, and troubled, family.

Read Full Review of Famous Father Girl: A Memoir ... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Star Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Bob Hoover on Jun 22 2018

Fans of Leonard Bernstein, while turned off by his personal behavior, will find his daughter’s accounts of gossip and celebrity interesting even she if gets lost in the telling.

Read Full Review of Famous Father Girl: A Memoir ... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

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