I have never seen a man happier, more bursting with the joy of living, than George when he was playing his songs.
— Bennett Cerf, writer and friend of George Gershwin
The way that Wood tells Gershwin's story totally linear, and I think that allowed me to imagine myself taking a journey back in time into the wonderful world of George Gershwin. But that was a problem at the end of the book when poor George got sick and died in a very tragic way. I wish I'd have skipped that last chapter!
All and all this was a good read and I learned some cool stuff about George. I didn't know that he was an avid oil painter that loved to paint portraits of his friends. He was a huge fan of Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern. He started out as a salesman for a music company demoing sheet music, and that's where he first got the opportunity to develop his piano chops auditioning and transposing on the fly music for customers.
George being painted as quite quirky and eccentric man is no surprise. I did enjoy learning about this very talented and wonderful fellow's life. And there are some funny spots that had me laughing out loud. My favorite is an episode in which George and his friends are all sunbathing naked outside. One of his friends said some remark about one of George's musicals 'Pardon My English' being sub-par. George lept up and insisted that everyone come inside and hear the songs as he pounded the piano and sang them at the top of his voice stark naked. What a character!