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An Absolutely Beautiful Read - 5 Stars - You're Going To Love It !!!!
on January 14, 2011
Only since her death in 1994, are we beginning to realize the depth and complexity of this magnificent women who we never really knew. Her image completely shaped by two husbands, each of whom were bigger than life. For many years Jackie Kennedy lived her life through her relationships with men of great power. Perhaps this was merely symbolic of the age that existed back then, but Jackie was never one to be kept captive by her surroundings, or those who would choose to try to control her, even exploit her.
After the death of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie started to come into her own. Receiving a $26 million settlement from the Onassis estate, she would be able live a life of luxury without being dependent upon the Kennedy family fortune which had bypassed her. She would come to know Andre Meyer, the most powerful banker of his generation, and together, he would build her nest egg into a multi-hundred million dollar fortune.
At 46, she was in the last third of her life - what to do? She decided she would live life on her own terms, and live she did. She knew that many of her relationships were superficial. People hung onto her because of her position in society, and she knew how to block people out once they violated her confidence, as so many of them did.
Greg Lawrence's book does a magnificent and beautiful job of taking us through the last third of Jackie's journey. She would learn to balance life with her children and pursue a career that many felt incredulous. The former first lady last had a job in the 1950's as a camera girl for the Washington Times-Herald. It was 1953, and the pay was $43.50 per week.
She had recently turned down an opportunity to create a television special on a project she loved, having been offered $500,000 to see the project through. She fought an aged Aristotle Onassis for his approval, and his response typical of the era was "No Greek wife works." It's all here and more.
And so after Aristotle's death, she calls friends in the publishing industry and decides she needs to pursue a career. Lawrence points out that one publisher tells her that it would be unfair to all his assistant editors to bring her in with no experience while they have worked hard for hers. He quickly lost her to Viking Publishing at a salary of $200 per week for a 4 day workweek.
Over the next 20 years, she edits and promotes more than 100 books, 3 of which were by Greg Lawrence, the writer of this work. As a result of Jackie working with Lawrence directly, we know that he really got to know her, and what made her tick during this, Jackie's literary period. Maxwell Perkins taught her that the book belongs to the author. By living this concept, Jackie knew always to remain in the background. Let the author shine. It is the author's book and therefore it is the writer who must be front and center. Years later she would leave Viking and join Doubleday and her career would go on, until she had built a legacy with those 100 plus books that she had chaperoned into existence. Each one allowing her a new window into a new aspect of society and history.
Extremely modest, and by nature shy, when she would refer to books, she would call them, her other best friends. When she died, she was surrounded by books. She loved books as her son John said at her death. They were her window into the minds, and hearts and ideas, and through them, the world. When she died at a much too young 64 years of age, her brother in law, Senator Ted Kennedy said that Jackie would have preferred to be, "Just herself, but the world insisted that she be a legend too." It's all here in Jackie as Editor, beautifully crafted by a master story teller, enlightening, and engaging. I am thankful that Lawrence wrote this timeless tale that will be read for years to come, and thank you for reading this review.
Richard C. Stoyeck