Publisher’s Weekly Review of Its My Party by Jeannette Watson

 

It’s My Party: A Memoir

Jeannette Watson. Turtle Point, $17 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-933527-99-4

In this charming memoir, Watson, the former proprietor of Manhattan’s bookstore Books & Co., reflects upon her remarkable, troubled life as the granddaughter of IBM’s founder and daughter of Thomas Watson, who ushered the corporation to wide success. Born in 1945, one of six children, Watson used books to escape, not just reading them but “inhabiting” them. In spite of her idyllic surroundings (a seven-acre family estate in Greenwich, Conn., with a pony and 30 dolls; an impressive summer home in Maine), Watson was wary of her father’s tempestuous nature; without warning, he could fly into a rage. The shy and sensitive Watson was often depressed, though she enjoyed observing her parents’ social life and well-known guests; her mother, a former model, had dated Jack Kennedy, and Ted’s and Bobby’s families visited. After coming out as a debutante (to a 13-piece band), attending a private high school, and studying at Sarah Lawrence, the author married and had a child; her postpartum depression landed her in a sanatorium where she received electroshock treatments. The memoir balances the bleak periods with tales of exciting travels with her parents, her interest in fashion and fashionable people, and her love of literature. Watson’s colorful descriptions recreate a singular era and gently probe the darker currents that run deeply beneath the surface of wealth and privilege. Photos. (Oct.)

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Kate Soper’s Here Be Sirens

It has been said that the hardest thing for new opera or symphonic works is to get a second performance. Kate Soper’s musical theater/opera work, Here Be Sirens, premiered in 2014 at Dixon Place in New York City and had two series of performances. In March, it had its second run, this time by the Fresh Squeezed Opera Company at the LGBT Center on 13th Street, though only excerpts were performed, representing slightly less than half the opera.

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Memorial Day, North Haven, Maine – 2017

It is 46 degrees, with a brisk east wind and misty as a dozen veterans gather inside American Legion Post 33 on North Haven, Maine, an island 12 miles offshore and proud of its history of sending young men and women to fight for their country. It is a curious thing – this island often seems independent of the continental United States, yet in every war, starting with the Revolutionary, the islanders responded to the call for service to defend freedom, democracy and our way of life.

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