The Most Beautiful Girl: A True Story of a Dad, a Daughter and the Healing Power of Music

updated-cover  A Memoir by Tamara Saviano
Foreword by Kris Kristofferson

Release Date: Feb 10, 2014

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Read the first chapter here.


The Most Beautiful Girl is a heartbreaking yet uplifting memoir of a daughter, her father, and the healing power of music.

The story opens with a scene at Johnny Cash’s funeral when author Tamara Saviano is struck with grief about unfinished business with her father. Robert Ruditys died two years before Cash, and hadn’t spoken to his only daughter for more than a decade before that.

Her grief led the author on a journey to rediscover her father and examine the lost relationship with a man she once loved. The Most Beautiful Girl is the result of that exploration and reveals a painful and complicated, yet, at times, touching relationship between a young girl and her dad.

Through an unstable childhood, a turbulent young adulthood and finally on a path to freedom, Saviano lays bare the complexity of family ties—both those that bind and those that break.

Her story is set to a soundtrack of folk and country music that both inspires and haunts her. Saviano weaves a tale that proves music can provide a lasting connection long after human relationships have unraveled. Threaded with lyrics and founded in a mid-century coming-of-age tale, The Most Beautiful Girl represents a true American remembrance of childhood anguish, lost identity and happy endings.

The Most Beautiful Girl concludes at the 2005 GRAMMY Awards, as Saviano is honored for producing the Best Traditional Folk Album: Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster.

Praise for The Most Beautiful Girl:

“Tamara Saviano’s courageously written memoir The Most Beautiful Girl proves yet again that familial dysfunction is no match for the healing power of love and forgiveness. With Johnny Cash, Otis Redding and Charlie Rich providing, via the family turntable, the soundtrack to many a riveting scene, Tamara paints a picture of her early life in northern Wisconsin that is as harrowing as it is idyllic.  This is the story of one hearts triumph over the human condition, told unflinchingly and without self-pity.”

Rodney Crowell, Author of Chinaberry Sidewalks

 “The Most Beautiful Girl is Tamara Saviano’s powerfully painful and beautifully written story of her transformation and redemption from dysfunctional childhood into a life filled with meaning, love and creativity. Driven by hard work, a passion for music and her ability to forgive and to move forward with her life, Tamara has emerged as one of the best friends Americana music has. But that’s now. The Most Beautiful Girl is the story of how she became all she is.”

Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country

 “Tamara Saviano renders the truth of who she is with a gritty, unapologetic page-turner that will leave you captivated.  Saviano’s storytelling is skillful and refined, allowing her reader to trust and to be taken by the hand on this colorful journey of mind, body and most importantly–spirit. The Most Beautiful Girl is, in equal measure, excruciating and triumphant; ultimately delivering massive doses of compassion for those of whom she writes and for Saviano, herself.”

Chely Wright, Author of Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer

 “A courageous writer, Saviano explores a childhood that is bitter and wondrous, a place where madness and music mingle to tell us the truths about life.”

Michael Streissguth, author of Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris and the Renegades of Nashville;

Johnny Cash: The Biography; and Always Been There: Rosanne Cash, “The List,” and the Spirit of Southern Music.”

 “Tamara Saviano’s journey from child of an alcoholic father to GRAMMY Award-winning record producer left me breathless. The Most Beautiful Girl is a triumph of the human spirit that resides in us all.”

Marshall Chapman, author of Goodbye Little Rock n’ Roller and They Came To Nashville

 “In The Most Beautiful Girl, Tamara Saviano examines unmentionable scars and unthinkable sins with clear eyes and objective accountability. The author’s singular style fortifies these vivid vignettes with authenticity that mirrors the legendary songwriters who sheltered her troubled youth. Her leanly crafted yet meticulously detailed prose proves undeniably: A truly fearless heart guides this remarkable journey toward salvation. ”

Brian T. Atkinson, author of I’ll Be Here in the Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt

 “Music is the common thread that ties together so many of our life experiences, both good and bad. In The Most Beautiful Girl, Tamara Saviano brilliantly weaves together stories and songs to retrace the often painful but ultimately inspiring journey that has been her life so far. This unvarnished account of family dynamics is a riveting tale that readers will find both shocking and exhilarating. ”

Dr. Gary Hartman, Director, Center for Texas Music History and author of The History of Texas Music




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