Why We Love Jackie Kennedy
It’s been fifty years since Jackie Kennedy graced the White House (and edging close to twenty years since her passing), yet adoration for the former first lady endures. Why? Many of the presidents’ wives have done their duty--respectfully so--and moved on to quiet lives after their husband’s time in office, and let’s face it, many are forgettable. But not Jackie. Aside from her controversial and puzzling marriage to Aristotle Onassis, what was it about Jackie Kennedy that engraved her on so many hearts? I think I know.
Her style. Comparisons come and go, but we all know that no first lady before or since was as elegant as Jackie. For instance, do we swoon at the remembrance of Nancy Reagan’s inaugural gown? Probably not. Even though the events of 1961 were well before my time, I’m familiar with the gowns Jackie wore to the inaugural gala and to the inaugural balls, as are many Kennedy admirers. After all, they’ve been on display, featured in magazines, immortalized in museums. When we think of Jackie’s style though, we may also recall Jackie, a refined equestrienne, in jodhpurs--and looking equally stunning. How many women could pull that off?
Her grace. Jackie’s poise and manners are legendary. She charmed world leaders and always had a smile ready for the cameras--even when the cameras and reporters became too invasive for Jackie’s taste. Even more remarkable? That public persona of hers never cracked, regardless of rumors of her husband’s naughty activities.
Her love of family. First and foremost, Jackie Kennedy was a wife and mother. Despite JFK’s dalliances, Jackie’s devotion never wavered. Pictures of her on the floor or at the beach with a young Caroline and an even younger John Jr. make Jackie relatable. She loved being a mother, and unfortunately, her journey toward motherhood was one of tragedy. She knew the pain of miscarriage, the devastation of having a stillborn (Arabella), and the deep, grievous loss of her newborn, Patrick. Our hearts break over such trials, and as parents ourselves, we rejoice in her happiness.
Her strength. After JFK’s assassination, Jackie Kennedy showed more dignity than anyone would have imagined possible. She not only planned the funeral with history in mind, but she also saw to it that the country--and her children--gave her husband a meaningful, respectful send off. Although the grief was evident on her face, and she was entitled to a breakdown after what she had been through, Jackie did not let her bereavement take over. She made our nation proud at a most difficult time.
Fine women will continue to come and go and fulfill their first lady duties, but it is doubtful that any will be as admired, talked about, and remembered as fondly as Jackie Kennedy.
Title: O! Jackie
Author - Mercedes King
Date to be Published: 12/29/2012
Synopsis: Despite her poise and graceful smile, Jackie Kennedy’s life was far from perfect. Behind closed doors, Jackie struggled with bouts of depression, endured a heartbreaking road to motherhood, and had difficult relationships with those closest to her. Ravaged by insecurities and humiliation, she even wrestled her own temptations for both other men and divorce. But Jackie clung to the belief that she could make JFK abandon his wandering ways. Through the years, though, Jack Kennedy’s lustful escapades grew in carelessness and frequency, and most needling for Jackie were his trysts with Marilyn Monroe. When Marilyn becomes erratic and unstable, Jackie must decide how far she will go to protect the presidency and to save her marriage.
Excerpt: My husband’s faithfulness to being unfaithful tortured our marriage. The relationship never seemed about just the two of us. I suffered a great deal, both publicly and privately, but few people knew. Those who did know could not comfort me.
Ours was a complicated history. We were both so complex, so set in our ways, and worst of all, we were the product of our parents, though we vowed not to resemble them. And when two strong and independent people are united¾ with domineering and opinionated parents behind them¾ such a couple may spend their lives trying not to tear each other apart.
Despite everything that’s happened, I feel no regrets. Yet there are times when the enormity of one’s choices is difficult to bear. You struggle to hold on to a shred of sanity. Sometimes you pacify yourself. Other times you live in delusion. Sometimes you simply fail to hold it all together.
Since becoming the senator’s wife, Jackie had faced a difficult adjustment. Jack traveled extensively, but the loneliness was tolerable. He regularly brought home a parade of friends and aides, unannounced, but she grew accustomed to the in-house crowd. Frequent moves were taxing but doable, the whirlwind lifestyle demanding but manageable. What drained and anguished her most was Jack’s family.
The Kennedy clan was loud, rambunctious and numerous. They preferred heated debates at the dinner table and rough games afterward. Jack thrived on his family’s presence and basked in their company.
Jackie’s quiet nature and polished manners made her transition into the family awkward. An introvert, she received lackluster attention from Jack’s sisters. Some Kennedy women interpreted her shyness as a snub.
Somehow, the couple would need to create a balance as they meshed their different worlds.
For now, she dismissed thoughts of her in-laws and picked up her pace. After all, she could be spontaneous. Jack would be pleased, she reminded herself. That made Jackie all the more eager to see her husband.
After working her way through the Senate Office Building toward Jack’s office, Jackie found that his secretary was away from her desk. As she glanced around, she suddenly heard giggles from behind office door No. 326. Puzzled, she decided to let herself in, with only a gentle knock to broadcast her entry.
“Surprise, darling…,” she began.
And was he ever.
Jack sat in his chair behind the desk. A beautiful young woman was between Jack and his desk, buttoning her blouse. Her cheeks flushed, and she fumbled as strands of her blond hair kept falling in her way.
Jack nearly sent sparks flying as he zipped his pants.
The young woman hopped off the desk and straightened her skirt. She avoided looking at Jackie as she made a beeline for the door. Then she paused, as if her escape was interrupted by programming, and asked Jack, “Is there anything I can get you?” An obnoxious wave of her perfume stung Jackie’s nose.
Jack shook his head and scowled at her. He stood and went to his wife, who had not taken her eyes off him since entering the room.
“Jackie. Wh-What are you doing here?” He forced a weak grin.
Jackie didn’t answer. Didn’t blink.
Jack’s smile widened and he reached to embrace her. He was stopped by a gloved but sharp slap on the cheek.
Jackie gasped, bewildered by her own action. Jack stared at her, his face awash with disbelief. As the shock slowly faded, he gave her a look that warned her not to do it again.
“Jackie, it’s not what you think,” he lied. His natural, winsome smile appeared and he batted those heavily-lidded eyes. “She’s just some intern or aide. Meaningless.”
“Meaningless to you, perhaps. But if you found me tangled in the arms of another man, would that be meaningless to you, Jack Kennedy?”
Jack sidestepped that verbal trap.
“Don’t be upset, Jackie. You should’ve telephoned and let me know you were coming.”
Jack held his wife in his gaze. He expected his charm to put her at ease. It was one of the best weapons in his manly arsenal, and it served him well with the ladies.
Shouldering the shame that should have been her husband’s, Jackie averted her eyes. She huffed and turned to leave.
Jack held the door shut as she grabbed for the handle.
“Don’t leave like this,” he said. “There’s no need for a scene. Just calm down a minute. Let me take you to lunch.”
Jackie flashed him a look of disgust. Would she ever be able to eat again?
He placed his hand on her arm, but Jackie swiped it away as if his palm was laced with disease. Surprised, Jack rocked back on his heels and lost his hold of the door.
“Don’t touch me!” Jackie snapped before darting out of the room. She fought back the tears swelling in her eyes.
Review: Imagine Jackie Kennedy telling you the story of her life with Jack. You see Camelot through Jackie's eyes. You live out all her hopes, her fears and her dreams. Reality and fiction meet.
I absolutely couldn't put this book down once I started it. I was captivated.
We all know that her marriage to JFK wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. As I read, I almost felt their marriage might have been a bit like Charles and Diana's, only in Jackie's case there was more than one women with her husband.
Marilyn Monroe plays a huge part in the book, but she's not really a character at least not until the end.
This book is one of those novels that instantly makes you want to learn more. If you don't know much about Jackie O, when you finish reading this you'll want to devour every book you can find on her.
Well, I do.
She's more than just a first lady, she's an icon and a symbol of a generation. Mercedes, humanized her, in this book. She brought that time period to life superbly. Plus she added the fictional touch to history. What if she played a part in Marilyn's death. Now that was something I didn't really see coming.
What I really loved about this book was the journal parts that really felt like the fictional Jackie was sharing her life with the world, or at least the reader of the book.
The only flaw I found was her naming Lee's first husband as Cass Canfield, at the beginning of the book when it was actually Michael. Lee, being Jackie's sister.
Other than that, this book was a fantastic read, one you won't forget after reading, but then again, who can forget The Kennedys?
Rating: 4 flowers
A founding member of Sisters in Crime Columbus, Ohio, Mercedes King is an active member and past president. She graduated from Capital University with a degree in Criminology, and since then has been crafting stories with a scandalous flair. A born and bred Buckeye, she writes in a variety of genres and is hard at work on her next novel.
Web site: OJackiebook.com
Amazon - http://amzn.to/Ut5IHnu