THE FABULOUS BOUVIER SISTERS

THE TRAGIC AND GLAMOROUS LIVES OF JACKIE AND LEE

Suffice it to say, more than 50 years on, explorations of the truths and fictions of Camelot continue to mesmerize.

A story of sisterhood that reveals how all the fortune and fame in the world can’t assuage sibling rivalry.

With the exception of their parents’ divorce, it’s hard to imagine a more charmed youth than that of young Jacqueline and Lee Bouvier. These two remarkable women, who would go on to become first lady to President John F. Kennedy and princess to Prince Stanislaw Albrecht Radziwill, had seemingly every possible advantage. However, Vanity Fair vets Kashner and Shoenberger (co-authors: Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century, 2010, etc.) write, the sisters’ relationship was a lifelong balance of love and envy. Case in point: Jackie would go on to marry Aristotle Onassis, Lee’s former lover. With entirely opposite personalities—Lee was outgoing and dramatic, Jackie demur and shy—each seemingly wound up with what would have been the other’s ideal life. In this well-researched dual biography, the authors describe how that fate would both haunt and help them. But while the story is essentially about the sisters, the narrative favors Lee’s perspective, showcasing the often misunderstood socialite’s battle with wanting to be more than just a pretty face. Of course, it was hard to shake that label given the philosophy the girls’ father—failed Wall Street stock broker and alcoholic John Vernou Bouvier III—ingrained in them: “Style…is not a function of how rich you are or even who you are. Style is more a habit of mind that puts quality before quantity, noble struggle before mere achievement, honor before opulence. It’s what you are….It’s what makes you a Bouvier.” Living up to such an ideal would become Lee’s Achilles heel, and her illustrious love life often overshadowed her attempts at self-actualization. Not surprisingly, the supporting casts—Truman Capote, Peter Beard et al.—in the lives of the Bouvier sisters were just as flawed and fascinating.

Suffice it to say, more than 50 years on, explorations of the truths and fictions of Camelot continue to mesmerize.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-236498-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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