A chronicle of a close friendship that might seem unlikely on the surface.
Early on, Simon (Boys in the Trees, 2015) writes that “no one is more interested in famous people than other famous people,” so perhaps the most avid readership for this thin memoir will be famous people who want to read about famous people writing about even more famous people. Simon and Jackie (no last name necessary) would seem to inhabit different circles of fame, but here they seem equally at home in each other’s worlds. The author and her subject were neighbors on Martha’s Vineyard, and they worked together during Jackie’s publishing career on a series of children’s books. Yet what really brought them together was the friendship each had with director Mike Nichols. “Almost every woman I met during the 1980s was besotted with him….I’m not exaggerating when I say that Mike was the preliminary conduit to Jackie’s and my friendship,” writes the author, as she dishes on just how much and how often Nichols would turn the tables and ask her about Jackie. Little wonder, then, that there was a coolness between the woman he married, Diane Sawyer, and the women who thought about marrying him—or settled for something less permanent. Jackie asked Simon to sing at her daughter’s wedding, the two went out to the movies together (they avoided Oliver Stone’s notorious JFK), and Jackie warned Simon about marrying her second husband, who turned out to be gay. The author suggests that some might find the two of them to be an odd couple and that she risks “ridicule or denouncement” in writing such a book. But there’s a full-circle irony in how Jackie had long tried to persuade Simon to write a memoir; now she is the subject of her second.
A behind-the-scenes glimpse at parties where the famous mingle with the famous.