Setting the Stage is the introduction to the book. It is written in the first person, and touches on the personal relationship between Sophie Tucker and the author. In addition, it lays out the form of the book, which attempts to use the past, learn from it, take from it all we can, and move forward into the future and the lasting contribution Sophie Tucker made and continues to make in American popular culture.
This chapter takes place in the 1950s when Sophie Tucker reunited with the authors family.
In this chapter, the authors family moves to a house and Sophie Tucker meets the author for the first time.
This chapter describes the authors familys preparations for Sophie Tuckers weekend visit to their home and includes details of that weekend, as well as the beginning of the authors intimate relationship with Sophie.
This chapter describes Sophies supervision of the authors physical makeover, including her first beauty parlor haircut and sleep-overs at Sophies Park Avenue apartment.
Chapter 6 describes Sophies younger sister Annies influence on the author s sister and Annie s relationship to Sophie, as well as Annie s role as surrogate mother to Sophies son Bert.
This chapter describes Sophies love of cards and gambling and describes a series of scenes when Sophie taught the author to be her gin rummy partner. Sophies comments to the author about Frank Sinatra are revealed.
Chapter 8 details the family reunion Sophie and the authors parents organized at the authors home to reunite an aunt and uncle who had not spoken in fifty years. Sophies loyalty to family is revealed in this chapter. (Original photos from this party are included)
Chapter 9 takes place on the eve of the authors departure for college when Sophie gives a family dinner party in her honor, replete with finger bowls like Sophie saw used in England.
This chapter reveals one side of Sophies relationship to her son, Bert, and her advice to him and other young starlets about making it in the show biz world. Sophies ambivalent relationship with Bert is evidenced in this chapter, a relationship filled with guilt, love, and dependency.
Chapter 11 introduces Sophies close friend, Mom Chung, who lives in San Francisco and owns a parrot that imitated Sophie.
Sophie Tucker and long-time pianist Ted Shapiro on front of post card from Las Vegas.
Note to Lois on back of card, dated February 24, 1960, while Lois was at Penn State University: Dear Lois,
So glad to hear from you and alls well. Wonderful to hear youre going to Europe. I will be home end of March. No plans to play PA at all. Im fine. Love to you and folks.
This chapter reemphasizes Sophies sense of family and her expectation that the author pass on what Sophie teachers her to a younger second cousin who follows the authors college career one year later, including a comical episode when the author attempts to teach this cousin how to behave on a dinner date. Sophies commitment to women in her family mentoring other female family members is clearly shown.
In Chapter 13, Sophie and the authors family react to Jayne Mansfields night club act, and Sophie offers her opinion of a family member with murderers eyes.
This chapter deals with the authors young marriage and Sophies opinion of this event. The author gets married and Sophie reacts.
This chapter talks about the mentoring relationship the author had with Sophie Tucker.
Chapter 16 describes a family seder at Passover time at Sophies Park Avenue apartment, an evening that included Sophie and her brother Moe reminiscing about their parents and their childhoods, as well as a private talk between Sophie and the author.
This chapter includes a meeting with Sophie backstage at the Latin Casino in New Jersey when Sophie gives out some hard advice.
This chapter explores Sophies opinion of show business and includes her friendship with a South African diamond merchant who is an avid fan.
Set in the 1960s, the author confronts Sophies past, when she appeared on stage in blackface, and questions Sophies political views on civil rights.
This chapter includes Sophies diagnosis of lung cancer and a meeting between the author and Sophie.
Chapter 21 includes Sophies death, charitable nature and memorial service in her hometown of Hartford, Connecticut.
After Sophies death, the author and her husband meet up with Sophies brother and business manager, Moe Abuza, and help him over a heart-breaking affair.
The author pays a visit to Hartford, Connecticut and revisits the house of the Abuza family and talks with a neighbor.
This chapter includes correspondence with Sophies pianists widow, a 1994 visit and interview with Sophies older brothers son, and posthumous findings of the author.
This final section contains never-before-seen letters and photographs of the author and Sophie Tucker, including original letters from Sophie to the author and also to another grand niece. Also contained in this chapter are photographs of gifts given to the author by Sophie.