I have become good friends over the Internet with Amy Duncan, who published her autobiography last September under the title Getting Down to Brass Tacks: My Adventures in the World of Jazz, Rio, and Beyond. It was initially released as in e-book format, but while I was dithering over what kind of electronic reader to buy, it also came out in a softcover edition. It already has eleven 5-star reviews on amazon.com. The reviewers offer enthusiastic comments like: “With grace and humility, she creates a vivid picture of a life full of music, love, loss, struggle, and triumph.” “She has lived it all and we experience it right along with her and can easily relate!! My hope is that there is a sequel to this fascinating life story.” “A great read – I am ready for MORE from Amy H. Duncan!”
I loved the book and related to all the reviewers’ comments. Here’s the review I recently posted on amazon.com under the title “A compelling, insightful story”:
“It’s true. Other reviewers have said they couldn’t put this book down, and I had the same problem. Amy’s deft story-telling keeps the reader hungry for more. The author’s writing is at turns poignant and suspenseful, and always emotionally honest. Her vivid settings are palpable; you feel as if you were right there with her.
“I was deeply touched by the stories from her childhood and her portrayal of her parents, each walling themselves off from their special creative daughter in their own way–her mother with a business-like façade that covered up her feelings, and her father with an alcoholic haze that excused him from being engaged. Amy was left to figure things out on her own, and that she did. Jazz piano became her life, and she was already playing gigs when her cohorts were starting to date boys.
“For jazz fans, the book is a cornucopia of fascinating tales about the icons and the not-so-great. For lovers of Brazil and its music, there are unique glimpses inside the samba schools, where she played percussion. She didn’t say, but I doubt that any other American woman has regularly rehearsed with the passistas for the big Carnival parades.
“One empathizes with Amy at each step as she made her way in the world. Those of us who know alcoholics will resonate with her ambivalence as she tried to connect with her father. Single mothers will see themselves in the challenges she faced to support and care for her two daughters. All readers will appreciate her insights into the human condition.
“I highly recommend this book.”
Amy’s blog is at: http://finallygettingdowntobrasstacks.wordpress.com/. You can “like” her book on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/AmyDuncansAutobiography