Writing Life: Speaking of Gossip…

There’s a new book out about the Bouvier women, entitled Janet, Jackie & Lee. This is a serious biography, more than gossip, but it sounds a little gossipy. Who knew that in the months after Jack’s death, Jackie took a lover, the architect Jack Warnecke, who designed the gravesite memorial at Arlington?

Janet sounds like the mother from hell.

I probably won’t read the book, but I’m aware as I read the NY Times review by Laura Thompson how invested I am in the myth of Jackie Kennedy as “the silent sphynx” rather than as a “woman of passion, sexual and emotional” as portrayed by author J. Randy Taraborrelli.

The review itself is great writing. Marvel at this pithy opening paragraph, by Thompson:

The writer Nancy Mitford, one of six daughters, once said that sisters “stand between one and life’s cruel circumstances.” To which the younger Jessica Mitford replied that sisters were life’s cruel circumstances. By the end of “Jackie, Janet & Lee,” with its riveting exposition of the relationship between the two Bouvier sisters — who became Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Princess Lee Radziwill — one tends to take Jessica’s side.


In order to read a whole book I have to be interested in the content, and alas, the Bouvier women likely don’t make the cut. But I did love the review, because I love reading great prose. You might, at least, like the review too.

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