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All in Good Time: A Memoir by Jonathan…

All in Good Time: A Memoir

by Jonathan Schwartz

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I was of the impression that a memoir was a book written about a certain event, or a limited period of time in the author’s life. Mr. Schwartz’s memoir begins prior to his birth, and ends five or six decades later. Fortunately, he was still around to write about it, but this book is technically an autobiography. I’m hoping he writes a sequel.

I have written a review of his first book of short stories, Almost Home, after having re-read it almost forty years since the first reading. I assumed that many of those stories were autobiographical in their conception, and literary license was heavily applied in the telling of the tale. Apparently, I shouldn’t have. I recognized large chunks of each of those stories in All in Good Time.

I used to listen to Jonathan Schwartz on the FM radio back in the 60s and 70s. As it is difficult to find anything published by him, I was floored to come across this book in a used-book store (one of several I visit on a regular basis), and began reading it as soon as I could get to a coffee shop.

He doesn’t hide anything. There were parts of his life that, frankly, I’d have been very happy not knowing about. Yet, if he had left those things out, and I (somehow) found about them later, I would then have to question the validity of the memoir. In short, he’s brutally honest about his life, and if nothing else, you have to respect him for that.

There is a pervasive theme throughout the book where it seems, with rare exception, he doesn’t know anyone who isn’t famous. Most of the people he knew were friends/associates of his father, songwriter Arthur Schwartz. As a result, pretty much half of the people in the Hollywood phone book (for several decades) are mentioned throughout. Some might think he’s trying to draw your interest by name-dropping, but these celebrities were as much a part of his life as Zung (a stuffed monkey doll) was to my youngest son.

This was a good book to read. Most of it doesn’t leave you feeling uplifted, but overall; it is as honest a self-examination of a life as I’ve ever read – and with more details than I would feel comfortable about revealing about myself.

So, would I recommend it? Sure, I would. Just keep in mind that although the book ends on a happy note, it’s a story of loneliness and tragedy, and demons. You have to respect him for laying it all out there. ( )
  WholeHouseLibrary | Jun 28, 2010 |
Jonathan Schwartz's memoir could come off as incredible name-dropping, except as the son of a songwriter and later a DJ he really did meet a lot of famous people. I'm not a fan of his mannered radio style or of the standards he adores, so maybe I shouldn't have been reading this book. ( )
  ennie | Oct 12, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 037550480X, Hardcover)

All in Good Time is a luminous memoir about growing up in the shadow of the golden age of songwriting and Sinatra, from the celebrated radio personality and novelist Jonathan Schwartz.

“Dancing in the Dark.” “That’s Entertainment.” “By Myself.” “You and the Night and the Music.” They are part of the American Songbook, and were all composed by Arthur Schwartz, the elusive father at the center of his son’s beautifully written book.
Imagine a childhood in which Judy Garland sings you lullabies, Jackie Robinson hits you fly balls, and yet you’re lonely enough to sneak into the houses of Beverly Hills neighbors and hide behind curtains to watch real families at dinner.

At the age of nine, Jonathan Schwartz began broadcasting his father’s songs on a homemade radio station, and would eventually perform those songs, and others, as a pianist-singer in the saloons of London and Paris, meeting Frank Sinatra for the first time along the way. (His portrait of Sinatra is as affectionate and accurate as any written to date.)

Schwartz’s love for a married woman caught up in the fervor of the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and his other relationships with both lovers and wives, surround his eventually successful career on New York radio.

The men and women who have roles to play include Richard Rodgers, Nelson Riddle, Carly Simon, Jimmy Van Heusen, Bennett Cerf, Elizabeth Taylor, and, of course, Sinatra himself.

Schwartz writes of the start of FM radio, the inception of the LP, and the constantly changing flavors of popular music, while revealing the darker corners of his own history.

Most of all, Jonathan Schwartz embraces the legacy his father left him: a passion for music, honored with both pride and sorrow.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:12 -0400)

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