Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book review and giveaway: Jackie After O: One Remarkable Year when Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis defied Expectations and Rediscovered Her Dreams by Tina Cassidy

I've always been a Jackie Kennedy Onassis fan. Her quiet demeanor and Mona Lisa smile always intrigued me. When I was offered the chance to read Jackie After O, I grabbed it. Here's the description of the story...

Defined in the public eye by her two high-profile marriages, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis faced a personal crossroads on the eve of 1975. Her relationship with Aristotle Onassis was crumbling while his health was rapidly declining. Her children were nearing adulthood, soon to leave her with an empty nest. Both death and scandal were about to strike yet again. But 1975 would also be a time of incredible growth and personal renaissance for Jackie, the year in which she reinvented herself and rediscovered talents and passions she had set aside for her roles as wife and mother.

In Jackie After O, acclaimed author and journalist Tina Cassidy explores this prolific yet incredibly daunting year in the life of Jacqueline Onassis, including her part in the campaign to preserve Grand Central Terminal in New York City; her pursuit of a real career, in the editorial department of Viking Press; the death of her second husband and her fraught relationship with his surviving daughter; and the London bombing that almost took her own daughter's life. Cassidy has unearthed new information from archives and original interviews, and reveals intimate stories about the projects and interests of Jackie's earlier years that would lay the foundation for her life beginning in 1975, from an internship at Vogue to her meticulous restoration of the White House when she was First Lady.

Jackie After O is an exciting and original portrayal of the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis through the lens of one remarkable year, a time of reinvention both personal and public, as she shook the world's expectations and pursued her dreams in middle age.

I've read many accounts of Jackie. This book rehashed old ground that I was familiar with, but that didn't make the story any less enjoyable. What was different was this book's particular focus: the year 1975; the year that Jackie became a widow for the second time, and made the decision to seek a job. Her journey to find meaning in her life through work and accomplishments of significance showed a different side of the woman beyond the myth and what many people may be familiar with. Even though she had great wealth (200 million, thereabouts) she didn't devote herself to a life of leisure. She fought for the causes she believed in, like the battle to save Grand Central Terminal in NYC. I recall as a kid, her fight to save St. Bartholomew's church, a little architectural wonder in NY as well. As an aspiring writer, I enjoyed reading about Onassis' career as an editor with Viking Publishers. Imagine having her as your editor!

Though the book has a big focus on that pivotal year, it also examines important events in her life prior to that as First Lady and then later as a single mother, problematic step mother and points in between. It makes it clear, that Jackie Kennedy Onassis was not a dilettante or flighty socialite. She was iron butterfly with real substance. It's a great example of the old adage: money isn't everything. This woman had plenty of it, but Jackie After O, gives the reader an intimate little journey along side a famous woman trying to make her life count for something.

Jackie After O, is a nifty little read at 288 pages. If you'd like a chance to read it for yourself, leave a comment that answers this question: have you read any books on Jackie Kennedy Onassis? Don't forget to include your email. 

This giveaway is open to resident's of the US only. It ends, Sunday, June 17, 2012

Jackie After O released May 1, 2012 by It books (HarperCollins)



  1. Sounds like a positive book on Jackie. She was a real lady.

  2. I have read "Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot" and "America's Queen:The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis". I would be really interested in reading this book.

  3. Oh, yes, I have read several Jackie books, including one that was a fictionalized version. I'm a Kennedy

    Just finished reading American Legacy: The Story of John & Caroline Kennedy, which has some Jackie moments.

    But a 288 page one sounds very tempting!


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