FAREWELL JACKIE: A Portrait of Her Final Days

Edward Klein, Author . Viking $23.95 (212p) ISBN 978-0-670-03331-7

With so many books out there about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, one has to wonder what fresh insights might be found in this latest portrait. Klein's angle is to offer "a missing piece of Jackie's remarkable story"—her battle with cancer—on the 10th anniversary of her death. While he's billed as a personal friend of Jackie's (although admittedly not a close one), it's hard to see how his relationship with her lends nuance or depth to his writing. Klein has written a slew of books about the Kennedys (most recently the bestselling The Kennedy Curse ), and this slim tome feels padded. While readers do get details about her last days, they often come from questionable sources, like her manicurist, who observes, "She liked to keep her nails and toenails natural and clean looking" and "I heard she was sick.... But I didn't know so many details." One also has to wonder why a former friend would need to resort to sources like this. Scenes of Jackie's last moments and actual death are moving by their nature. But the portrait we get—that she was strong, that she loved her family, that she died on her own terms—is nothing new. In fact, Klein stresses throughout Jackie's need for privacy, so his offering of such intimate physical detail—whatever the source—while not explicitly exploitative in tone, does come off as unseemly. What would Jackie think? B&w photos. Agent, Dan Strone, Trident Media Group. (On sale Apr. 12)

Reviewed on: 04/05/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 285 pages - 978-0-7862-6885-6
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