Jacqueline Kennedy: Reader

Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books by William Kuhn
Thanks to Ann Kingman of Books on the Nightstand for this recommendation. Even though I’m a Kennedy-o-phile (dear God, what a horrid construction), seeing the reviews of this book (and other similar one recently published) didn’t really tug at me. Till Ann’s rave review, and then I caved.
So glad about that. (photo credit: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum; that’s the First Lady’s bedroom in 1962. I’ll betcha she read in there.)
There’s way more Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis biography here than I would have thought.
And this book, more than any other I’ve ever read about her, helped me understand her.
Really quite something, that.
There are links here between the literature she loved and the men she chose to marry. And for the first time, I got why she married each of them, even as she knew their failings. Strange how that never made sense to me until now, but the way Kuhn explains it, it just makes sense.
The other remarkable thing is this: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was a reader. I swear to you, I’ve never thought of her in that way. As a style and fashion icon, yes. As a famous wife and mother, yes. But as a reader… I just missed it, guys.
There are two wonderful sentences in this book that drive the point home:
“This slightly offbeat Jackie, her beautiful hair smelling not only of perfume but also of the cigarettes she sometimes liked to smoke when she was working, scribbling in the white space along the edge of a manuscript, is the Jackie we know when we understand that first and foremost she was a reader.” (p. 17 of the eBook)
During her marriage to Onassis, an insider said she “disappeared every afternoon while others napped to read by herself” (p. 25 of the eBook).
She was not like Us, but actually, in a way, she was. Gotta like that.
P.S. Just before posting this, I was over at A Work in Progress and saw a posting called “Are You as Well Read as Marilyn Monroe?” Given the whole Jackie/Marilyn thing, it was nice timing. And interesting to see that they both were readers.

4 thoughts on “Jacqueline Kennedy: Reader

  1. Pam

    I have had this one on my Nook forever but haven't gotten around to it yet. I think the not-so-positive reviews scared me off. Maybe I should check it out anyway. Thanks for the review!

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