In a deeply intimate and broadly evocative memoir, the eldest daughter of revered composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein offers a rare look at her father on the centennial of his birth.
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.