The aura of Camelot lives on in a book for Kennedy completists and those who enjoy tales of the rich and powerful.

READ REVIEW

JACKIE, JANET & LEE

THE SECRET LIVES OF JANET AUCHINCLOSS AND HER DAUGHTERS, JACQUELINE KENNEDY ONASSIS AND LEE RADZIWILL

The prolific celebrity biographer returns to Camelot, this time to examine some of the women involved in the glamorous proceedings.

Taraborrelli (Becoming Beyoncé: The Untold Story, 2015, etc.) tells the story of Janet Lee Bouvier, mother to Jackie and Lee, a woman whose life’s work was the acquisition of money and power. Indeed, Janet never let either of her daughters marry without understanding the suitor’s finances and connections. After divorcing John Bouvier, Janet married Hugh Auchincloss, a Standard Oil heir with two magnificent estates, one in McLean, Virginia, and the other in Newport, Rhode Island. Once married to Auchincloss, Janet wanted more children, and she was able to bear two more. This is much more the story of Lee and Jackie and their lifelong competition with and devotion to each other. Janet fostered and fed their competition, praising Jackie and criticizing Lee. Even in their games, Jackie was the princess and Lee the handmaiden; everything seemed to come to Jackie easily, while Lee struggled. Throughout their lives, Janet told the girls what to do and how. She even caused the end of Lee’s first marriage. Her greatest failure was Aristotle Onassis. Lee was ready to leave her husband, Prince Radziwill, for Onassis but was convinced it would be fatal for John F. Kennedy’s re-election, and she backed off. Even after Kennedy was killed, Lee hoped, but then Jackie moved in. Lee stepped aside gracefully, but Janet was furious. Throughout their lives, especially Lee’s, Janet vetted every attachment, with demands for settlements and monthly allowances (in the tens of thousands) before marriage. Jackie learned from the master, securing $3 million from Onassis along with at least $30,000 a month. Ultimately, this is a narrative about money and the seemingly unlimited power that goes with it. It’s a sad story, but anyone desperately questing for wealth could learn from it.

The aura of Camelot lives on in a book for Kennedy completists and those who enjoy tales of the rich and powerful.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-12801-0

Page Count: 528

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

more