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Big-T & the Bada-Bings


My Father's Daughter
Tina Sinatra

You'd think Frank Sinatra would have been the swingingest pop a girl could hope for, and—unlike other movie stars, whose dreamboat status did not always translate to real-life parenting—it's practically true. In My Father's Daughter, Tina Sinatra charts her father's life from the perspective of his youngest child. She paints him as an attentive, loving father, a man to whom family was as important as his eyes were blue. Even his nickname for her, "Pigeon," makes your heart melt a little. Though his two divorces and Rat-Packer image don't exactly jibe with the way the public remembers him, Tina forgives her father his inconsistencies and hypocricies.

The first half of the book covers Frank's rise to fame from his boyhood in Hoboken, New Jersey. Anyone seeking in-depth coverage of the movies or recordings Frank made during this period will be sadly disappointed. The point is, you can get that information anywhere. What Tina shows us here is the flip side of Sinatra's life, the time when he was a husband, father and friend. She tells us a bit about his involvement with JFK's presidential campaign, as well as his affiliation with the mob. A detailed account of Frank Jr.'s kidnapping is covered here, and through that story, we get to see the full dimensions and emotions of a man who epitomized the word "cool."

It's not really until the book's second half—titled "From Hell to Eternity"—that you feel youčre getting some truly juicy (and often sad) gossip. When Tina writes about Sinatra's third wife, Barbara, the author's optimistic point of view begins to wane. It seems Frank spent the last 25 years of his life married to a woman who nagged, manipulated and interfered, especially in areas concerning his finances and his children. In addition to convincing Frank to annul his first marriage (with the mother of his three children), it seems Barbara also kept his children from saying "goodbye" to him as he died.

Tina manages to tell Frank Sinatra's story from a fresh perspective, even though you're left wishing for a happier ending. However, the pictures of Old Blue Eyes in his glorious youth are sure to cheer you up.

-Danielle Bernato

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