It’s My Party: A Memoir

Jeannette Watson

Born into a celebrity family, Jeannette Watson’s larger-than-life family hid a number of secrets. Behind a facade of order and glamour, Tom Watson often experienced dark moods; his depression was something he passed on to his daughter. Jeannette felt she could never measure up to her mother-a legendary beauty-and kept her nose buried in books.

Through her years as a debutante, then young wife and mother, Watson kept her feelings under wraps until she had a mental breakdown. As part of her fight to heal herself, she left her husband, taking their son and moving to New York City to experience its heady 1970s freedoms. She opened the legendary Upper East Side bookstore Books & Co., which became a gathering place for literati. Her personal life soared once more when she met her second husband, Alex Sanger, grandson of Planned Parenthood’s founder, with whom she had two more sons. After a long and fulfilling run, the bookstore closed and Watson found her way down a new path to become a spiritual healer.

It’s My Party is a portrait of another era, a guide to dealing with depression, and one woman’s deep effort to understand herself.

  • “Watson’s lovely and moving memoir describes a childhood that was fraught and lonely, despite privilege, a father’s explosive and unpredictable temper, and, worse still, bouts of depression. How such an accomplished and beautiful woman emerges from this—perhaps not totally unscathed—to heal herself and to heal others and find happiness is at the heart of this engrossing and brave tale.” —Lily Tuck

  • “We are the offspring of gods and goddesses, and Jeannette Watson was even more so. In her vivid memoir—loving and funny, sometimes shadowed—presidents and kings and family trips around the world alternate with 77 Sunset Strip and TV dinners and Howdy Doody and discussions of which Beatle was the cutest. This is the personal record of an epoch and an America now mostly gone, and of the author’s eventual emergence into a splendid life entirely her own.” —Lance Morrow