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700 Sundays

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To support his family, Billy Crystal's father, Jack, worked two jobs, having only one day a week to spend with his family. Based on Crystal's one-man Broadway show of the same name, "700 Sundays"--referring sadly to the time shared by an adoring father and his devoted son--offers a heartfelt, hilarious memoir.

192 pages, Paperback

First published October 31, 2005

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About the author

Billy Crystal

26 books164 followers
William Jacob Crystal is a Golden Globe Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning American actor, writer, producer, comedian, and film director. He gained prominence in the 1970s for playing Richard Mulligan's & Cathryn Damon's TV son, Jodie Dallas, on the ABC comedy-drama, Soap, and became a Hollywood film star during the late 1980s and 1990s, appearing in the box office successes When Harry Met Sally... and City Slickers.

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5 stars
1,919 (34%)
4 stars
2,175 (39%)
3 stars
1,124 (20%)
2 stars
219 (3%)
1 star
46 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 702 reviews
Profile Image for Sharon Orlopp.
Author 1 book380 followers
November 26, 2022
Billy Crystal's father passed away when Billy was fifteen years old. Billy had 700 Sundays with his father.

Billy's memoir is poignant, hilarious, raw, and memorable. I was laughing and crying at the same time throughout the book.

When Billy was nine years old, his Dad took him to a comedy show. Billy memorized the entire show and then performed at a family event shortly after that and he was hooked.

This is a terrific book, particularly if you need something to lift your spirits.
Profile Image for Jan C.
1,015 reviews110 followers
September 29, 2020
Funny but sad. Title refers to the amount of time spent with his father, who was busy working two jobs to support his wife and three sons. Come to think of it, most children only see their fathers on weekends, they're too busy working to support their families.

The only difference here is that Billy's dad died when he was 15. That's why it was only 700. But the Billy Crystal humor comes through here and he shows where it lot of it came from.

Not sure if the book came before the play or not, but I saw the dramatization on HBO (I think). Very true to the book.

Brought me laughter and tears at a time when I needed them.
Profile Image for Amy.
Author 2 books153 followers
December 31, 2008
My girlfriend Liz lent me a copy of this. I liked it so much I got a copy to BookCross. It's not a deep or profound book, but is a funny, touching tale of a boy's love for his family and life.

Funny. funny man. I found myself snickering and giggling at some of his throw away lines. I had to read about a dozen of them out to mr czuk...grandpa's tea drinking, toots and farts, mother of the lesbian bride, "the face", Billy discovers his boy parts...

But the thing that blew me away was that his family founded Commadore records, the fabulous jazz record company. And all the musicians Billy knew when he was a kid. Mr Billy and Miss Billie go see Shane--Billy's uncle produced "Strange Fruit". Wow- talk about some of the greats being the touchstones of your life. Blows me away.
Profile Image for Mahlon.
314 reviews124 followers
March 12, 2010
You'd expect a comic genius like Billy Crystal to write an incredibly funny book, but the fact that it's also deeply moving might come as a surprise. 700 Sundays is Billy's tribute to his father(who died when Billy was a teenager) and his large and jovial family, full of characters, who provided the encouragement and support he needed to become a successful comedian. This book's only flaw is that it's too short. Those who are looking for a conventional Biography full of career highlights will be disappointed, but those who take the time to read this book will be richly rewarded.
Profile Image for Charles Isom.
136 reviews1 follower
June 9, 2014
I really enjoyed this adaption of Billy Crystal's stage play. I would definitely recommend seeing the special if at all possible, as much of the humor comes from Crystal's rapid-fire delivery. The book, actually, was stronger when he simply told the story of his family and their impact on the jazz scene in New York as well as other, more serious stories.
568 reviews7 followers
April 28, 2020
Quick read, I like Billy Crystal so it was interesting to read a little bit about his life. If you read the book you will understand the title and the significance.
20 reviews
May 16, 2021
i laughed and cried. this talks about the relationship he had with his father, who tragically died when billy was a teen. he also talks about growing up being the youngest of 3 boys.
January 4, 2021
Well my 2020 book challenge was FAIL, so I'm trying to start the next one off right, by marking the beginning of the year with my dream man Mr Billy Crystal. I laughed out loud at this book
5 reviews1 follower
April 25, 2012
"700 Sundays" by Billy Crystal was one of the most heart clenching books i've ever read. The book is about the young life from the birth until college days for well known celebrity Billy Crystal. Billy talks about his time spent in Long Beach NY and the happiness,adventures and the short time he spent with his dad. Billy uses characterization,setting and symbolism to further grip the readers heart.
The use of charcterization in the story is very important because it gives the reader info on how the character looks. For example on p (76) "Rip was a very charismatic kid. He was handsome, a talenter musican and dancer and girls loved him" This use of characterization was showing that Rip was a very popular kid and one of the kids you always wanted to be friends with. Characterization is very important to the movement of the story.
The setting of the story makes the story easier to fully grasp. The main setting of the story is in Long Beach New York. There are sum subsettings that are involved in the story like Yankee Stadium and the commodore music shop. Yankee stadium comes into play because the Crystal family were giant Yankee fans and passed by it often on their way home. Commodore music shop was the music store that was handed to Billys father by the old owner Milt and it became the biggest jazz store in the world and shipped records all over the world.
Symbolism I believe is the most important part of the book. The symbolism of the book is in the title "700 sundays." The symbolism is the 700 sundays are sybolizing the short time Billy and his family spent with his Father Jack. His father suddenly and out of nowhere died of a heart attack while bowling in his bowling league. Billy did the math and put together the amount of time (700 sundays) that is all the time that he spent with his dad. No kid so young should have to go through the losing of a loved one.
Overall this book was a very good choice that i read. It was very hard to put the book down because there were so much detail on every page. I really loved all of the devices that were used because it made it a lot easier to see the messages. Next time you see one of your loved ones make sure you tell them you love them because you never know what can happen just like in Billy's case.
Profile Image for Jeannie Walker.
Author 11 books567 followers
July 16, 2014
This story was funny and sad at the same time. I could relate to how Billy Crystal felt with the passing of his dad and mother. It was as if I was right there with him as he was telling the story... and his funny relatives, I laughed my head off. I loved everything about this book. Of course I had to watch it on TV, over and over. I have an appreciation for this wonderful man that I did not have before, even though he has always been one of my favorite comedians and actor. Everyone should get this and read it. If I could give it more than five stars, I would.

Jeannie Walker (Award-Winning Author)
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The Rain Snake A Children's Color Illustrated Book of the miracles of prayer and love by Jeannie Walker
Profile Image for Andrea.
179 reviews
February 19, 2018
Who knew Billy Crystal's life was touched by so many different characters and cultures. This book focuses on his father mostly and the estimated amount of time he had to spend with his family. Like many fathers back then, they only had 1 day a week to spend together. And if you were lucky you looked forward to it. Billy adds in the personalities of so many other characters that touch his life through the years, There's the LI mobster, Billy's extended family complete with accents and baggage, his neighborhood friends, the jazz musicians, his high school friends, his sports friends...I started to wonder how much was embellished. But it was entertaining and if it was mostly true. you can understand why Billy can be such a chameleon when it comes to imitating people. There are a few gems of wisdom in there as well, such as the quote that says heroes are in our own families and some insights into father/son relationships. Billy can be profound as well as funny. It was an enjoyable, mostly light read that reminded me of Sam Levenson.
Profile Image for Carol.
841 reviews41 followers
May 1, 2022
Billy Crystal talks about growing up during the 50's and 60's. The book is based on his Broadway show of the same title. His father worked two jobs and was only home on Sundays. The title refers to the number of Sundays he had with his Dad before he died when Billy was only fifteen.
Seldom have I read such a funny biography. Billy's humor comes through in the heartwarming stories about his family. His observations about being a kid during the cold war and air raid drills, and his take on his eccentric extended Jewish family tickled my funny bone and touched me too.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Judy.
1,945 reviews28 followers
July 8, 2017
A moving memoir about the time that Billy Crystal had with his father before his father's death--a span of what he figures was 700 Sundays.
Profile Image for John E.
613 reviews8 followers
August 8, 2017
Fun and moving memoir of a supportive and loving family. Short and quick read. I enjoyed it very much.
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
68 reviews2 followers
June 27, 2022
“Why does Billy Crystal think women owe him sex?” Was really the only question I had after finishing this. I was really enjoying the first half of this book, touching with fantastic jazz legend cameos but then the red flags start to pop up, he just keeps bringing up this girl he dated for two seconds when he was 15. From what I can gather they went on a few dates, he asked her to get serious, she said no, that they were better off friends which he can’t condone so he holds a grudge for over 40 years until he’s writing this book at age 57 and tells everyone how he saw her again at this high school reunion in 1985 but now instead of “THE Girl, she was now The Divorcée with The bad nose job, the fake tits and the fat ass…ain’t life grand” instead of writing about….LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE he uses this time to bully and diminish this woman because when she was 15 years old SHE DIDN’T WANT TO F*#k HIM. Why does Billy Crystal think women owe him sex? and if he doesn’t get it; beware, because apparently he’s going to wish the worst life possible upon you and run you down till the end of his days. Pathetic. Zero stars, you’re a tool.
Profile Image for Char Freund.
320 reviews5 followers
May 7, 2018
More sweet than deep. I could imagine Billy telling the stories as I read. Homage to melting pot of New York and what makes a family. I wasn’t aware of his family support of jazz and the contributions of so many friends and family. Here’s some thoughts for discussion.
P 21. Family was made up of what he called lunatics, but were good people, a group of immigrants who worked hard for the American life.
P24. An Aunt was the inspiration for book and movie, Marjorie Morningstar
P. 46. His grandfather recorded Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday when no one else would dare to do it
P. 56. Heroes are right in front of you. About Aunt becoming strong advocate for lesbian daughter.
P. 176. God deals the cards and it’s up to you to make the best of your hand.
Profile Image for Patricia Puckett.
Author 9 books3 followers
February 13, 2023
I hope that someone in Mr. Crystal's personal life, upon reading this work, told him what a wonderful tribute it was--not only to his father, but to his entire family.

For my prompt-based TBR list, I rolled "non-fiction: funny" as a prompt this month. I got this one, knew what it was about, and thought I was cheating a bit. I'm telling you, I wasn't. So much of this book is laugh-out-hilarious. And for the parts that aren't? If you've ever lost someone suddenly, especially a parent, you'll know exactly the feelings he's writing about. Wonderful work.
Profile Image for Tracy.
687 reviews16 followers
December 20, 2022
Really poignant, wonderful memoir. Billy Crystal obviously comes from a loving family. This memoir made me laugh and cry. Billy was only 15 when his father passed away from a heart attack...and he had 700 Sundays with his dad before that day. I understand that 700 Sundays is also a stand-up film that Billy Crystal performed... I imagine watching him deliver this story himself would be even better than this book.
Profile Image for Jake Jones.
8 reviews
June 3, 2021
A great transcription of the even better Broadway long form monologue/stand up show. Can’t wait to read his newer documentary
58 reviews
November 15, 2022
Had no idea Billy Crystal came from the background he did. So cool to hear about the musicians that filled his family’s record store/studio in NYC. Just an all out delightful quick read.
Profile Image for Jessica.
381 reviews
December 12, 2017
It’s charmingly written, and has a stand-up comedy feeling about it. You can really hear Billy Crystal’s voice through it. That said, biographies are not my thing.
Profile Image for Diane.
965 reviews
October 12, 2017
This one will tug at your heart strings. It's a memoir that focuses on Billy Crystal's early life. His father died when Billy was only 15 and the 700 Sundays refers to the father-son time that they had in those 15 years. Crystal grew up surrounded by love from a strong, caring family. It's no surprise that he's as grounded and kind as he is today. Sweet read.
Profile Image for Amy.
845 reviews
September 3, 2021
This is Billy Crystal’s memoir about growing up in New York City and only getting about 700 Sundays’ worth of time with his father before his death.

The book was humor-filled, as you would expect. As I read it, it was so easy to imagine Crystal speaking these lines out loud to an audience. But the comedy felt intentionally inserted at times. I really just enjoyed getting to learn about his childhood and how he knew early that he wanted to be a performer. I also liked his memories of his relatives, some with incredible careers and connections. I was really interested to learn about his love of sports and his early experiences with jazz legends thanks to his uncle’s business savvy.

Alas, Crystal is a comedian and the story was told with his signature humor, often far-fetched exaggerations interspersed within the tales. But his touching segments about the losses of each of his parents was really heartfelt and brought tears to my eyes. In the end, the memoir covers much more than the Sundays with his dad.
Profile Image for Book Concierge.
2,772 reviews332 followers
November 15, 2014
From the book jacket - One of America’s most beloved entertainers takes us home. Billy Crystal opens the front door to a time in his life when he shared joy, love, music, and laughter with an eccentric family headed by the hardworking father who left them all too soon. To support his family, Billy’s father, Jack, worked two jobs and long hours and could spare only Sundays to spend with his loved ones.

My reactions
This just proves that people’s ordinary, every-day lives can be far more interesting and entertaining than any fiction. Well, maybe not so “ordinary.” Crystal grew up in a large extended family that ran a family business – which happened to be Commodore Records. The jazz greats we know through their music were first friends and colleagues of Billy’s father, uncles and grandfather. We’re talking Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Rosemary Clooney – they and many others recorded for Commodore Records or participated in jam sessions put together by Billy’s father and uncles.

But on Sundays? Sundays they played ball, or went to watch the Yankees. His father dropped dead of a massive heart attack when Billy was just fifteen. He calculated that they had had only 700 Sundays together. These precious Sundays, and the following years witnessing his mother’s hard work to provide for her sons are the framework for this memoir.

Based on the Tony Award winning play by the same title, is not about Crystal’s career as an entertainer, but about the family that nurtured the boy. I wish I could have had an audio version of this, or watched a DVD of the Broadway show, because as I read I couldn’t help but feel that the material is best performed. Some of the obvious humor sections fell flat on the page (I certainly cannot replicate the comic’s timing on my own).

Profile Image for Leah K.
673 reviews2 followers
November 14, 2013
700 Sundays by Billy Crystal
182 pages


I assume everyone knows who the actor, Billy Crystal, is and if you don’t we need to have talk. This book does not deal with his incredible career but his childhood and his time with his family and more particularly his father. He would get to spend approximately 700 Sundays with his Dad before he would die when Billy Crystal was only 15 years old. This is adapted from his stage show by the same name.

My first observation was in some of the reviews before I even read the book - people giving it poor rating because it doesn’t deal with his success and career. Well guess what? The synopsis is no secret so don’t blame an author if you don’t know how to read a description of a book.

I really enjoyed this book. Billy Crystal is an incredibly funny guy in my opinion and that shines through in this book. But what also shows through is raw emotion and charm. In some parts of the book I found myself laughing and in others I felt my heart sink, I almost wanted to cry. He talks so lovingly about his family – his brothers, his uncles, his parents, etc. I kept going back and forth between a 3 and 4 star rating. I felt like he sometimes forced humor in where it didn’t need to be as if he was trying to soften to sad situations. However, his last chapter and epilogue were so heartwarming that I bumped this one up to a 4 star. It’s a quick one to read, it only took me a day in between errands and a busy schedule to finish this 182 page book. Worth a read if you are a fan of Billy Crystal or if you’ve ever lost a parent, you may just relate to him.
Profile Image for Ron Ecklebarger.
25 reviews
February 27, 2016
700 Sundays are not a lot for a boy to have with his father. Yet that is how many Sundays Billy Crystal had with his. Billy tells us the story of his life through the lens of the Sundays he had with his dad. Jack, Billy’s dad, managed the Commodore Music Shop on 42nd Street between Lexington and Third in New York City. On Friday and Saturday nights, Jack produced free jazz concerts. So Sundays were the day Billy spend with his dad.

For me, one of the best parts is where Billy talks about his two families. One of the families, his biological one, was Jewish. As Billy says, “The kind of people who spoke mostly Yiddish, which is a combination of German and phlegm.” His other family came through his dad’s jazz connections. I’ll let Billy tell you about them:

“When I was growing up, we had this whole other group that was living with us. An extended family. This group was not speaking Yiddish….This group was speaking jive talk. They were speaking hip talk. They were smoking cigarettes with no writing on them. They were jazz musicians, mostly African-American and some of the greatest players in the world. It was Jews and jazz forever.”

Now, this book (and DVD) is not just an autobiography. It is far too entertaining and hilarious for that. On the other hand, it is not just a comedy routine. It is far too warm and clever for that. Somehow, and this is Billy’s genius, he has combined the two and come away with something truly stupendous. It is moving and poignant, while being comical and witty. Billy Crystal has had a pretty amazing life. Whether you read the book, watch the DVD, or both; you are in for the ride of your life.
Profile Image for ╟ ♫ Tima ♪ ╣ ♥.
376 reviews22 followers
September 20, 2012
I liked this book much more than I expected to. It was downright funny at time, pulled on the heart strings at others and left me feeling like this was a man who really loves his family.

Outside of this book, I really no nothing about his upbringing, his family, his delve into celebrity fame. What I love about his story, is that he focused on all the people who shaped him into who he became and not on the ins and outs of A-List Hollywood [as most celebrity memoirs tend to be..].

His uncle became the first person in the record industry to develop mail order catalogues, they brought jazz into the city, brought musicians together who never would've played in the same venue due to race. His family was the sole reason that Billie Holiday's, harrowing song about the lynching of black people in the South, was ever recorded. (Listen to it here!

What touched me the most, was the tenderness he spoke about his Mother and Father. He had rougly 700 Sundays to spend with his Father before his untimely death in the 1960s. He was 15 years old. By those calculations, I got to have about 936 Sundays with my Father before we lost him. It's funny how I would trade all 900 of those Sundays in exchange for just one more with him.

A short, sweet, funny novel that made me really have a new respect and liking of Billy Crystal.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
1,074 reviews64 followers
July 19, 2013
Charming little memoir by Billy Crystal, focusing mainly on his family life, including the roughly 700 Sundays he got to spend with his father before he died. Fascinating glimpses into his childhood and his connections to the greats of jazz and baseball, including meeting Mickey Mantle at the first game he attended and seeing his first movie in a theater at age 5 seated on the lap of Billie Holliday (that movie, incidentally, was Shane, with Jack Palance, who later co-starred with Billy Crystal in City Slickers). Also a discussion of the great characters in his family (loved the chapter on Aunt Sheila), including Uncle Milt who came up with the idea of selling records by mail through a mail-order club/catalog.

The family stories and relationships are wonderful and you develop a real love for these people. The story of the day his father died is heart-breaking, because we all have things we wish we could unsay to someone who dies too soon. And I was not reassured to read that he was equally as devastated when his mother died years later after a long illness, because I had hoped that it might get easier than it was losing my father. Reading this book gives you a real insight into the man and his humor and into the family dynamics that shape all of us. I would love to see the Broadway play of the same name which features many of the same stories if I ever get a chance.
Profile Image for Nancy Rossman.
Author 3 books34 followers
October 15, 2012
This was a sweet breath of fresh air, a few laughs, a remarkable family life for the background of an entertainer. I loved the reminisces more than the laughs. And then, I have to say something about all the comedians who write their memoirs. It's the delivery that makes them work, makes them a comedian. Sure you need great lines...and there were some in this little book but not as much as you might think. On paper, for the reader...they fall flat. This wasn't nearly as fun and riotous as reading, for example, Alan Alda's Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, or something like that. Now that really was funny.

I love Billy Crystal and he does make me laugh. It is so heartwarming to read about his upbringing, his love of his parents and brothers and extended family and to know that no matter what, even after his success that was most important to him. It doesn't seem to be the way it is in show business.

So I did like the book and felt the afternoon I spent reading it was certainly worthwhile, just perhaps not as good as you might expect if you are a fan of his.
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