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Jackie & Me

by Louis Bayard

Jackie & Me by Louis Bayard X
Jackie & Me by Louis Bayard
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There are currently 16 member reviews
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  • Mel F. (Auburn, MA)
    Interesting read on Jackie Bouvier (pre Kennedy)
    A well written and engaging book about the relationship between Kirk LeMoyne "Lem" Billings (the best friend of John F. Kennedy) and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, before she became the iconic First Lady. Bayard writes in the voice of Lem who developed a friendship with Jack Kennedy when they were students at Choate. They bonded by their mutual dislike of Choate's rules and headmasters. Bayard portrays Jackie Bouvier (before she became a Kennedy) as "The scrapping career girl with homemade clothes and ladders in her stockings…who doubted herself at every move." Jack Kennedy initiated the friendship between Lem and Jackie since he was so focused on his political career that he didn't have the time for a proper courtship. Bayard uses a combination of fact and fiction to describe the friendship between Lem and Jackie which appeared as a "vetting process" to determine Jackie's suitability as a politician's wife and addition to the Kennedy clan. Lem became a confidante to this "other" Jackie- a young woman who was more naïve and vulnerable to the handsome, charismatic then Congressman from Massachusetts and his high-profile powerful family. This read is an interesting insight into one of the most famous of relationships that garnered interest by both the public and the press.
  • Lloyde N. (Olympia, WA)
    Reading for Pleasure
    One of my favorite sentences in the book starts in Chapter 2, "One of the things about being retired is you either give up on reading all those books you said you would or you finally get around to them". This is a book that because of retirement I had the opportunity to read and fully savor. There are many places in the book where the reader will learn new facts about Jackie Bouvier and her relationship with Lem Billings, and the doors he opened for her. The cast of characters is superb and Bayard has caught the subtle nuances of mid-century life. I recommend this book, and enjoyed it.
  • Jennifer B. (Oviedo, FL)
    Oh my! This has been a deliciously fun book! Louis Bayard has written a story that readers will consume eagerly. Although we know going in this a novel, it's tempting to conjecture what parts are true or based in truth. The story of Jackie before her marriage to JFK was not familiar to me. Their friendship with Lem Billings was also news to me, but I enjoyed every antidote about the triad. Louis Bayard has done well with his foray into romantic storytelling. He remains one of my favorite writers.
  • Elizabeth V. (Bellbrook, OH)
    Fictionalized History at its Best
    I loved Louis Bayard's fictional versions of Jack and Jackie as seen by Lem Billings, Jack's "wing man" during their courtship. The wistful tone of Lem's memories was poignant and endearing. Bayard's depiction of Jack and Jackie's relationship rang very true to me and gave a sense of depth and humanity to their iconic images. Highly recommend.
  • Shelley C. (Eastport, NY)
    Before Camelot
    What I remember of Jack and Jackie Kennedy are the Camelot years. It was a time when they were the occupants of the White House and they were the glamorous, golden couple that everyone envied. Men wanted to be Jack. Women wanted to be with Jack (and teen-aged me was one of them) and at the same time wanted to be and/or look like Jackie. Later on, we would learn of the escapades of our hero; all the women coming through the back door. And we would wonder why? After all, he had Jackie!

    "Jackie and Me", opens the door to the one sided romance. One can understand why she was attracted to him and he to her. But why did it go so far? Why did they ever marry? She knew who he was before they tied the knot. And as for him, did he ever really love her? Was he capable of loving anybody?

    Mr. Bayard's book was terrific; allowing us a glimpse into the lives of two historical figures who barely know one another, and that the world glorified even though they didn't know them either. His writing kept me glued to the pages, wanting more and more of the story. I loved this book and truly recommend it. It was a delicious read.
  • Diana C. (Boca Raton, FL)
    Shakespearean in its scope
    I knew I would adore this book. This author never fails to take the reader to places they were not expecting. This is at once a love story and a fable, with the moral being the all too familiar love lost amid a backdrop of poignant and sometimes painful memories. It features the very real relationships between John F. Kennedy and one of his dearest friends, Lem Billings and Lem's initially reluctant, and finally devoted, relationship with Jacqueline Bouvier. These are the very early years in John and Jackie's introduction and courtship, that ultimately result in their marriage. There was a profound undercurrent of sadness in this book, not just for the obvious tragedy that befell John F. Kennedy but for the all too familiar life experience of once having loved someone, having held them close and then, inexplicably, saw them slip through our fingers.
  • Martha G. (Columbia, MO)
    Jackie and Me
    I was in high school/college during the "Kennedy years." They were almost like royalty to me. Reading "Jackie and Me" brought back so many memories of their lives and mine! I had to keep reminding myself that this book was fiction. The author's language and writing style swept me into the character's emotions, actions, and time. I found myself wondering "what if". I found it to be a convincing read, a read I would recommend to book clubs, and a thoughtful portrayal of a man both loyal and lonely.
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