I received The Good Life as a gift from a friend after seeing Tony Bennett live here in San Francisco. I decided to take a little time and thought I’d read a couple of paragraphs then go on with my day. Well, from the introduction on I found that I could not put the book down. I read it from cover to cover in one sitting which I normally do not do unless the book is of real interest.
The writing style was conversational and had me thinking to myself I feel as though we’re sitting right here together having a conversation. The book begins with accounts of his parents and family immigrating to the US from Italy. His stories of his early childhood with his Mother working so hard to make ends meet along with cherished memories of family dinners etc… had me remembering and relating in so many ways to my Italian/Greek upbringing.
The pictures he paints with words are vivid as are his real life paintings of which some are showcased within the pages of the book. I never knew he was also a painter and was pleasantly surprised. His accounts of his time in World War II with all the racism and horrible treatment, specifically the “grave registration” incident, you’ll have to read the book, I won’t go into it here, was an eye opener and a learning process. Though my Father never spoke of his time in the war I now can understand how it affected his life and as a result gives me a better understanding of what he went through & why he was the person he turned out to be. It was somewhat of an awakening for me that I never would have known had I not read the accounts in this book.
Tony’s stories of the entertainment world and his constant fight not wanting to compromise his work is fascinating, entertaining and shows the reader exactly what a cut throat business the music industry can be. His struggles balancing the day to day life of his family against his work was very difficult and portrayed in heartfelt sentiment throughout the book. His struggles with drugs, money and near death are chilling and allows the reader to see inside the singer’s life in an intimate way.
This living legend worked hard for every penny he made, without compromise. This book is a wonderful read and whether a fan or not The Good Life makes for a great lesson on the ups and downs in life and how to overcome all the odds.