...not organized quite like a traditional memoir. Mr. Oppedisano starts by recounting his life up to the point he came to work for Sinatra, but most of the book details hundreds of late-night conversations with Sinatra over a six-year period ... What we overhear in these conversations often disagrees with other accounts; in fact, there’s new information on almost every page ... The stories Sinatra told may have been inaccurate. There’s no reason to doubt, however, that Mr. Oppedisano has accurately reported what Sinatra told him ... Frank fans will find plenty to cheer in Sinatra and Me. There are no accounts of the singer being violent or excessively cruel here; the worst “the old man” does is get momentarily angry at someone. Most of all Tony Oppedisano has provided future biographers and scholars with plenty of new material—no easy task—while presenting a believable portrait of a towering 20th-century figure in the defiant December of his years.
Oppedisano’s account of his years with Sinatra is a fond remembrance of a deep friendship, formed through all-night conversations, fueled by Jack Daniels, in which Sinatra regaled Tony with tales of his life and career. Many of the stories are familiar, but Tony O’s version reveals a vulnerability in the Chairman of the Board that is often quite moving.
The heart of the book then contains thematic chapters of reminiscences Sinatra shared about his loves, family, artistry, political and charitable work and supposed mafia ties. Finally, Oppedisano recounts the singer’s passing and the machinations needed to keep the paparazzi from being invasive and various family members from openly squabbling. So, is Sinatra and Me a juicy tell-all? Hardly. While Oppedisano shares an insider’s perspective, he does so largely in service of maintaining Sinatra’s positive image. While not glossing over Sinatra’s legendary temper, nor his demanding nature and fickle romantic heart, Oppedisano largely wants readers to see the best of his subject ... Oppedisano, aided by writer Mary Jane Ross, shares the tales with punch and panache ... Sinatra and Me may not set the record straight about every misconception of its title subject but not for lack of Oppedisano trying. That the results of such a quest prove so readable, human and sympathetic testifies to the writer’s powerful memory and singular life experiences.