Alone Together: My Life with J. Paul Getty
Society girl turned torch singer Teddy Getty’s memoir of life with billionaire J. Paul Getty is a who’s who of the 1930s through the 1960s, and will entertain readers looking for a fast-paced overview of social history of those decades. Getty takes us from her at-times traumatic childhood through her years as a singer in New York dinner clubs to her meeting Paul, and their life together, which actually mostly meant Teddy being alone. The just-married couple was separated in World War II, with Teddy remaining in Italy to study opera while Paul returned to the US to run Spartan Aircraft for the war effort. After being released from an Axis prison and a year-long house arrest, Teddy reunited with Paul, only to have him spend the next decades working hard at making money and collecting art, far away from her and their ailing son. Paul comes across as parsimonious to a fault, and not very loving, especially in his letters; the couple’s eventual divorce is no surprise. The lack of self-reflection and context makes Teddy seem vapid or even willfully ignorant at times; this reader could have used a bit more thought and a little less rushed chronology.