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.)