Neustadt JAAMM Festival (Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music)

Jamie Bernstein - “Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein”

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Join JAAMM as we welcome author, narrator, and filmmaker Jamie Bernstein to chat about her memoir Famous Father Girl.


Special thanks to the Jewish Book Council for their assistance in routing recently-published Jewish-interest authors to our community. We encourage you to purchase this title through our 2020-2021 Bookstore Partner, The Bookies, to receive a signed bookplate from the author!


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 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.