THE MEN WE BECAME: My Friendship with John F. Kennedy, Jr.

Robert T. Littell, Author . St. Martin's $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-312-32476-6

Of all of the banter recounted in this extended eulogy to his late friend, the most germane conversation comes when the author recalls his friend John F. Kennedy Jr. reading Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye, Ken O'Donnell and Mike Powers's memoir of the late president John F. Kennedy. The author writes, "[John] even suggested that I'd be writing about him one day." That quote almost serves as an ethical balm for the reader concerned that JFK Jr.'s life has been written about and exploited by so many. Though far from an autobiographical masterpiece, this book offers Kennedy voyeurs an exciting dose of nostalgia. Littell's account is adoring but not hagiographic. While most of the anecdotes involve the mundane stuff of male friendship, Littell acknowledges certain not-so-shocking facts distorted in the tabloids, such as John's seeking therapy after failing the bar exam for the second time, his occasional use of marijuana, his vanity and his marital difficulties. Littell's narrative is also a commentary on fame—and how fame affects all who are touched by it. Littell claims that John trusted him not because Littell worshiped his celebrity, but because he didn't: they became "closer each time [Robert] pushed [John's] public self away." In one telling episode, Littell plops himself down beside Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis after making a joke about John and his friends, and she gaily chides him, "I so love your irreverence." That irreverence is on full display in this sweet, heartfelt panegyric, which will undoubtedly be snapped up by readers of Laurence Leamer's Sons of Camelot . 35 b&w photos not seen by PW . First serial to Redbook. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/03/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Paperback - 238 pages - 978-0-312-32477-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-59397-533-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-59397-539-5
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4668-5185-6
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