Jamie Bernstein 

Bernsein offers a rare look at her father on the centennial of his birth in her deeply intimate and evocative Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein. 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. A fantastic set of characters populated his world—the Kennedys, Mike Nichols, John Lennon, Richard Avedon, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, and Betty (Lauren) Bacall, among them. 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, even when his own personal torments—his conflicted sexuality, his insecurity, his vanity—threatened to tear apart the fabric of their family. In public and private, Lenny was larger than life. In Famous Father Girl, Bernstein invites us into her family’s glamorous world. But this is also the story of a young girl who herself caught the creative bug and the desire to express herself musically. And the tension of doing so, while living under the shadow of the country’s most renowned musician, forms this memoir’s emotional core. “Jamie Bernstein has taken on perhaps the hardest task in literature, writing a memoir about a famous parent which manages to be both honest and tender. Semi-miraculously, she’s pulled it off, and Famous Father Girl both paints a winning picture of the Bernstein family, especially her parents, the much-celebrated Lenny and the much-loved Felicia, while offering a poignant take on the complexities of growing up as the child of a legend—or, for that matter, as anybody’s child.” —Adam Gopnik About the Jamie Bernstein: Jamie Bernstein is a writer, broadcaster, concert narrator, and filmmaker (her documentary Crescendo: The Power of Music is now available on Netflix). Famous Father Girl
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