Publication Date: January 2018
Review, short version: Two roses out of four for writing and readability.
Review, short version: Four skunks out of four for these egregiously awful people.
Janet Lee Bouvier Auchincloss Morris.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.
Caroline Lee Bouvier Canfield Radziwell Ross.
What do these women have in common?
Need a flow chart? I sure did – three women, eight husbands, 11 kids and stepkids.
First: Janet was the mother of Jacqueline, known as Jackie, and Caroline, known as Lee.
Second: All three married multiple times, mostly to men they knew – or thought they knew – had major wealth and power.
In fact, Janet raised her daughters with that credo: Marry only men with major wealth and power.
As for love? Optional detail. He’s already married? More details. He’s chronically unfaithful? Impotent? Gay? Mere bagatelles.
Here’s something else these three women have in common:
They’re all parasites. Definition: a person who habitually relies on or exploits others and gives nothing in return.
I hate parasites.
So why did I read – and even finish – Jackie, Janet & Lee?
I read it because I remember beautiful Jackie Kennedy, her handsome husband President John F. Kennedy (JFK), and their darling children, Caroline and John Jr. I thought – foolishly – “It will be interesting to learn more about Jackie and her sister and their background.”
It was sickening.
Sickening to encounter a trio of women so shallow, superficial, greedy, grasping, self-indulgent, self-centered, elitist, entitled, mercenary…and I’m being kind.
Example #1: Janet divorces first husband Jack Bouvier in 1936. Jack agrees to pay alimony, plus their daughters’ medical, dental and education. Still, Janet is “struggling” to make ends meet on her alimony – $1,000 a month, “roughly $17,000 today.” Poor thing.
Example #2: While Lee is married to Prince Stas, who is unfaithful, and she’s having affairs with Aristotle Onassis and some guy named “Taki.” Onassis is married and also having an affair with opera singer Maria Callas. While Onassis is having affairs with Lee and Maria, he pursues a relationship with Jackie, and eventually they marry. After Onassis dies, Jackie has a long-term affair with married Maurice Tempelsman. I got writer’s cramp trying to keep track.
Example #3: When Jackie is 39, Janet is displeased with Jackie and slaps her in the face. Twice. When Jackie and Lee are well into their 50s they still call Janet “Mummy.” Lee has her maid follow her into the bathroom to drop gardenias into the toilet. Jackie escorts Lee to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in a limo. (Who the hell goes to an AA meeting in a limo?) And speaking of limos, Jackie takes one to Hammersmith, the family
estate, a four-hour drive from Manhattan. “Of course, Jackie had a chauffeur, but, still, it was exhausting.”
Yeah, everybody knows sitting in a limo is sooooo exhausting.
Who are these people?
You’ll find out if you care to tackle J. Randy Taraborrelli’s well-written but ultimately awful 460-page book.
Do so only if you’re desperate for something to read.
And have a hefty supply of anti-nausea drugs.
To be used during and after the reading of Jackie, Janet & Lee.