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Summary

Ben Watt’s father was a working-class Glaswegian jazz musician - a politicized left-wing bandleader and composer - whose heyday in the late 1950s took him into the glittering heart of London’s West End. His mother, Romany, the daughter of a Methodist parson, was a Shakespearean actress who had triplets in her first marriage before becoming a leading showbiz feature writer and columnist in the ’60s and ’70s. They were both divorced and from very different backgrounds, and they came together at a fateful New Year’s Day party in 1957 like colliding trains.

Romany and Tom is Ben Watt’s honest, sometimes painful, and often funny portrait of his parents’ exceptional lives and marriage, depicted in a personal journey from his own wide-eyed London childhood, through years as an adult with children and a career of his own, to that inevitable point when we must assume responsibility for our own parents in their old age. Spanning several decades - and drawing on a rich seam of family letters, souvenirs, photographs, public archives, and personal memories - it is a vivid story of the postwar years, ambition and stardom, family roots and secrets, big band jazz, depression and drink, life in clubs and nursing homes. It is also about who we are, where we come from, and how we love and live with each other for the long term.

©2014 Ben Watt (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very Moving

What did you like most about Romany and Tom?

A really moving account of the lives of Ben Watt's mother and father. Recommended even if you are not a fan of Ben's music as it focuses very little on this , but on the complex relationship of his parents, their struggles, talents, addictions and their ageing..

Who was your favorite character and why?

Tom & Romany

What does Ben Watt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Beautifully read by Ben..Only he could recount such a personal story.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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How Beautiful

I loved it, it made me laugh, it made me cry, it was beautiful, a real story about a complicated family, all with such interesting characters! Wished I could see some photographs of the people! Would love to watch it as a film & I want to play Romany please. Hehe! Thank You Ben Watt, your Pa Tommy was spot on you are a lovely kind man, without out judgement a credit to you parents! xxx

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honest and heartfelt about being part of a family

A open and touching account of what it's like to understand who your family are

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A loving portrait of family frustrations

What did you like most about Romany and Tom?

The humanity of the story. Ben paints an honest picture of two flawed people who happen to be his parents. The love and affection shines through.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

In the first part of the book, Ben's parents are increasingly frail and have deferred their life choices to him. Through his telling we can see how hard it is to make the decisions, how much he wants to make them happy and how easily a careless word can hurt and deflate. Romany and Tom come to life very quickly and I became fascinated with their story.

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My favourite audible book yet!

Listening to this , a few chapters at a time , was like sharing one of those really nourishing conversations you have with a great friend from time to time. Thanks Ben.

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Fascinating

A fascinating, touching and thought-provoking story told very well. Definitely worth listening to.

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  • Mom CPX
  • 30-08-16

Stories help us make a difference.

The compelling stories of both his Mom and Dad and all his family will help many have multiple connections to to the challenges faced by the author, Ben Watt and his family. They were also entertainning! For me...reading about his passionate parents and how Ben watches them grow old shows the need for compassion for those around us who are facing similar challenges. Giving those who are earlier on that path, some of the wisdom from Bens empathy and compelling story telling. Wisdom will help to make a difference. Thankyou.

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  • Shelly A Lewis
  • 30-06-15

Ben Watt delivers another heart-felt treasure.

Super captivating listening as Ben lovingly and candidly shares his family's fascinating, relatable history. What a beautiful human being he is as he reflects on his mum and dad!

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  • Cara K. Ramelow
  • 10-10-14

Heartfelt and Genuine story

What made the experience of listening to Romany and Tom the most enjoyable?

I liked Ben Watt's Englishness and attention to detail and use with words.
I actually met Ben and Tracey in 1996 when they came to Houston. I was an aspiring musician then and gave them one of my demo cassettes. Nice gentleman.

What did you like best about this story?

This is about real life and it should be talked about more often. What happens when your parents get old?

Any additional comments?

The only negative for me is when Watt gives great detail about locations in England that I have no idea where they are.