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Farewell, Jackie: A Portrait of Her Final Days Hardcover – April 12, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With so many books out there about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, one has to wonder what fresh insights might be found in this latest portrait. Klein's angle is to offer "a missing piece of Jackie's remarkable story"-her battle with cancer-on the 10th anniversary of her death. While he's billed as a personal friend of Jackie's (although admittedly not a close one), it's hard to see how his relationship with her lends nuance or depth to his writing. Klein has written a slew of books about the Kennedys (most recently the bestselling The Kennedy Curse), and this slim tome feels padded. While readers do get details about her last days, they often come from questionable sources, like her manicurist, who observes, "She liked to keep her nails and toenails natural and clean looking" and "I heard she was sick.... But I didn't know so many details." One also has to wonder why a former friend would need to resort to sources like this. Scenes of Jackie's last moments and actual death are moving by their nature. But the portrait we get-that she was strong, that she loved her family, that she died on her own terms-is nothing new. In fact, Klein stresses throughout Jackie's need for privacy, so his offering of such intimate physical detail-whatever the source-while not explicitly exploitative in tone, does come off as unseemly. What would Jackie think? B&w photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Edward Klein is the author most recently of The New York Times bestselling The Kennedy Curse. He covered John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign and was foreign editor of Newsweek and editor in chief of The New York Times Magazine.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; 1st edition (April 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670033316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670033317
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,110,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Edward Klein needs to find a new family to write recycled books about. After peddling such ghastly books as "The Kennedy Curse" and "Just Jackie," Klein engages in literary graverobbing with the putrid "Farewell Jackie: A Portrait of Her Final Days."
His primary focus is the final illness and death of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, of non-lymphoma cancer that seemed easily treatable. By this time, Ms. Onassis had transcended her tabloid-speckled former lives and had a good job, a man she loved, and grandchildren she adored. But when her cancer spread, Onassis tried to die with the illusion of dignity she had maintained in her life.
Reading "Farewell Jackie" is a bit like watching someone break open a grave to frisk the bones of the dead. Padding the story of Jackie's illness and death are stories of her earlier life -- primarily her second marriage, and various love affairs she had (one of which has been denied by the man involved). Dirt-dishing, anyone?
Jackie Kennedy Onassis is portrayed as downright saintly in this book; Klein glosses over the hypocrises and flaws in her personality, such as being "religious" yet ignoring tenets of that religion. Even the volatile nature of her relationship with her second husband. Oddly enough, this adoration doesn't extend far enough, especially at the end. Any semblance of dignity is shredded when Klein goes into grotesque detail about Onassis's final mental and physical deterioration.
What's more, Klein's writing is deplorable. He transcribes private conversations and moments when Onassis was alone -- all obviously faked. Not to mention that Klein is in desperate need of an editor for this book's many errors. On one page, Klein informs us, "Jackie a wreck." Verbs?
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I agree with the other reviewers who say there is nothing new here. Not only is this all rehash,it's not even good rehash.
Save your money, but if you must own it...buy it used...I am sure you'll have no trouble finding them.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia K. Robertson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 20, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My husband claims that I've never met a book I didn't like. But two Edward Klein books that I've recently read have to be the exceptions. The Kennedy Curse was bad enough, but Farewell, Jackie: A Portrait of Her Final Days is a true dog.

Klein gives us the details of the diagnosis of Jackie's fatal illness and follows through to her death. In between, he regales us with short stories about her childhood, her lovers, her husbands, her children, her friends and her job. Jackie was fiercely protective of her privacy, and one thing that she demanded of her friends was complete loyalty. Edward Klein used to be a friend, until he wrote an article about her. After that, she cut him off completely. As a result, we're not really getting his "inside" story, but the story of dozens and dozens of Jackie's "anonymous" friends. I question how many would willingly provide him with intimate details of Jackie's deathbed scene (one that he called "her masterpiece").

Farewell, Jackie isn't much of a book. Weighing in about just a little over 200 pages, the chapters are short, the pages are small, and there are often two or three blank pages between each chapter. I read Farewell in a little over two hours, and I'm not a speed reader. At least with The Kennedy Curse, Klein provided us with some interesting information about the little-known Kennedy-Fitzgerald patriarchs. Unfortunately, Farewell, Jackie has little to redeem it. I think Klein has milked this cash cow (the Kennedy's) to the extent that the cow has run dry. It's time for him to find some new material.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Tony Philpott on May 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Usually a "slim volume" is a term applied to a book of poetry. Alas there is nothing poetic about this book but it is slim on just about everything that goes into a good biography.Simply put it is just another "smash and grab" attempt by Ed Klein to make money from the Kennedy/Onassis name.
If Mrs Onassis had been Mr Klein's editor she would have returned the manuscript and asked for a rewrite but unfortunately Mr Klein's editor lacked even the most basic skills which set Mrs Onassis apart in this field.This book is nothing more than a cut and paste of his previous books.Not much depth or preparation went into this ...even the photographs are not relevant...only one of those published refers to a period in the last six months of her life.
Also a lot of personal conversations between Mrs Onassis and her Doctor's/Priests are quoted verbatim so unless the author had these parties wire-tapped I don't see how he could have access to this sort of intimate exchange.
It's a pity on the tenth anniversary of the death of Jackie Onassis we could not have had a book published that celebrated her grace and beauty...a photographic book in the manner of "Marilyn in the camera's eye" would have been appropriate...but instead we have America's answer to Andrew Morton peddling his same old reworked wares.
Honestly Ed Klein go back to writing for magazines's . Maybe then you won't have to so shamelessly pad your subject matter and you may regain some of your credibility.
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