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What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love

June 20, 2011
What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love
by Carole Radziwill
I still vividly recall the day the plane carrying JFK Jr., his wife, and his sister-in-law disappeared. I obviously didn’t know any of them, but I was especially upset to learn that Carolyn Bessette Kennedy – someone whom I’d always admired from afar – was taken away at such a young age. She was so beautiful and stylish, so polished and classy.
She was exactly what I’ve always wanted to be. 
I recently learned (to my relief) that I am not the only person in this world who shares an obsession of all things Carolyn-related. And it is thanks to my friend Ayesha and our own little book club, that I recently finished the fantastic memoir: What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love.
Initially I hesitated to pick up this book because I feared it would be a tabloid style “tell-all” a la Michael Bergin’s The Other Man : John F. Kennedy Jr., Carolyn Bessette, and Me. But to even mention these two books in the same paragraph is doing a complete disservice to author Carole Radziwill.  
Sure this book sold itself because of the author’s relationship with the Kennedy family, but one only has to read a few pages to become mesmerized by Radziwill’s eloquent and honest writing style. Readers will find themselves gripped by the story of a girl from Suffern who follows her dreams to become an award-winning TV producer and the wife of Jackie Kennedy’s nephew – Anthony Radziwill.
Radziwill emanates realism as she describes her lengthy, often frustrating courtship with the man she eventually marries. She also handles every potentially offensive topic with grace and tact, even as she describes the aloofness and dysfunctional nature of the Kennedy clan. She doesn’t dramatize or embellish her relationship with JFK, Jr. or Carolyn, and portrays herself as anything but a hero as she becomes her husband’s biggest strength as he battles cancer.
In short, Radziwill doesn’t claim to be anything she isn’t.  Instead, the self-described outsider is just a regular person – relatable, human, honest, and most of all, admirable.
Bottom Line: Even if you aren’t obsessed with the Kennedy’s as I am, this stunning memoir will alternately haunt and fascinate you.
10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2011 5:06 am

    Wow – I just have to say your writing is so impressive. The way you captured the essence of the book and said it so concisely – it makes me want to read it and I’m not a Kennedy intrigu-ee (?) 😉

    My book reviews…uh, suck. A conglomerated (again, a word?) mess.

    • June 22, 2011 9:08 am

      Thank you for the compliment! Even if you aren’t a huge Kennedy fan I think you will be inspired by the way the author worked hard to accomplish what she has.

  2. magicofspice permalink
    June 20, 2011 5:44 pm

    Wonderful review you have given here…I am sold! I am not much into others famed lives on either side, but I do enjoy stories told from an honest or more exact, a real perspective. Sounds like a worthwhile read.

    • June 22, 2011 9:09 am

      The real perspective here is what makes this book SO unique and worthwhile. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  3. June 22, 2011 6:54 pm

    I hadn’t heard of this one. I’ll be checking my library’s on-line catalog…Thanks, Again!

    • June 22, 2011 7:38 pm

      I found it at the library as well…I hope you like it!

  4. June 22, 2011 8:46 pm

    I find the Kennedys incredibly fascinating, and I’m a sucker for memoirs and biographies so this may be something I may pick up.

  5. Leslie permalink
    June 29, 2011 3:42 pm

    Moving & simple, Ameena. You made me want to read the book. I’ve got it on my list now.

  6. July 6, 2011 7:13 pm

    Wondeful review… I am definately putting this book on my to read list sounds very honest and intriquing at the same time.


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