Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jackie as Example

This first book I've read about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis probably doesn't qualify as one of the best. It's organized by lesson-themed chapters (Men and Marriage, Courage, and Image and Style, to name a few) rather than in chronological order, and gives the significant details of Jackie's extraordinary life through a rather long lens. Most everyone knows the basic facts by now, anyway, and this book's purpose lies elsewhere.

This certainly isn't a psychological study. Neither does it dish any dirt. One can tell going in that this book is about the good things we learned from Jackie. I'm sure I'll be reading the dirt in due time.

Meanwhile, this is a pleasant, rather lightweight book that reminds me of someone's perfectly adequate research paper, complete with a number of endnotes. If it was a student paper, I would be pleased--it's well-organized, and many of the paragraphs follow the classic 5-sentence format. However, this makes it a bit bland. The "What Jackie Taught Us" sections that conclude each themed chapter are neither compelling nor brilliant, though the information they are based upon is probably very accurate.

My favorite page in the book is the title page, which juxtaposes the necessary words with a lovely black-and-white photo of a young, smiling Jackie in riding togs. I don't mean to damn it with faint praise, but there you are.


Although faced with a rare, united front of opposition from both her parents, Jackie refused to be discouraged. Studying abroad was not a whimsical wish in her mind; this was something that really mattered to her. Jackie felt she had earned the courage of her convictions, as she had treated her trip to Europe the previous summer as an opportunity to learn, not just to sightsee. Prior to leaving for Europe, she read history books and studied French, German, and Italian in order to be fully prepared to gain as much knowledge as possible. She was determined to return to the continent and would not be discouraged.


  1. I have a never ending fascination with Jackie O. I wish I could have interviewed her before her death and asked her any question I wanted. What grace and style.

  2. Why are you reading it? It seems a curious choice considering your usual list. Just needed something light?

  3. Hula, you are so right. She's very near the top of my list of "If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would you pick?" people.

  4. Oreneta, it is indeed a little different for me. I've always admired Jackie, and it was time to start another collection, so I thought I'd put the two together. And it's nice to read something lighter, too.


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