Jackie and Me: This novel tells of how Jackie and John F. Kennedy met

aWhen the future President of the United States of America enters the room, everyone at this 1951 cocktail party knows who he is. Boston heir, millionaire, war hero, contender for a high position in politics, handsome, unmarried. excellent husband’s things. Conversations are silent single girls She flicks her cigarette butt and gets a high ball. Do not drink it, but rather wet your lips with it and make them shine. Then addressing John F. Kennedy.

other single girls There is a bit of a crankiness at this party. Jacqueline Bouvier takes her mother’s advice: When you’re in a room with two men, always smile at the less attractive man – he will please him and challenge the other. And it works. subordinate Congressman bites;

This is how Jackie and JFK’s first meeting could have happened. Close friend Lem Billings describes the intimate insight into the mind of the later first lady. It really was, and American author Lewis Bayard has revived it in his latest English-only novel, Jackie & Me. In Billings’ view, one of the most glamorous American love stories is told, around which legends and gossip have accumulated in real life, often contradicting each other. If you can’t get enough of the two, now you have more materials that will inspire your imagination.

Just before the presidential election: John F. “Jack” Kennedy and Jackie

Source: Bettmann / Getty Images

Fictional, but so well-researched that it could have happened, the novel explores how well then-21-year-old Jackie knew her role in the powerful Kennedy clan and as a potential future first lady. Approached by her trusted friend Lem Billings, the novel paints a bleak picture of young Jackie’s nascent relationship with John F. “Jack” Kennedy.

The First Ladies fascinate the audience, personifying charm and impotence at the same time. Showtime just aired “The First Lady,” with Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford, Viola Davis as Michelle Obama, Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt, and Jackie Kennedy’s life in cinemas a few years ago with Natalie Portman. The approximation of Bayard’s novel has been familiar to audiences since the hit series “The Crown” or “Diana” at the latest: historical fiction that feels so real that it matches real events.

A few months after the cocktail party, Jackie, who was fairly independent by the standards of the time and hailed from a wealthy family, began working as a columnist for the Times Herald. In contrast to her somewhat shy nature and wearing a heavy Leica jacket with satin gloves, she films passersby on the streets of Washington and asks them questions about social issues. With her salary and a college degree in French literature and American history in her Gucci bag, a model then called Constance and later named after her, she could theoretically stand on her own two feet. Despite this, she initially embarked on an unemotional engagement with stockbroker John Husted. But after another meeting with JFK, he wants her Congressman, as you call it, can’t get out of her head. And so she broke off her engagement with the stockbroker and called JFK a peach shot. He called her on a date.

Congressman and Jackie before their marriage

Congressman and Jackie before their marriage

Source: Getty Images / Hulton Archive

By the summer of 1953, JFK had serious presidential aspirations and there was no time for Jackie. At the same time, counselors told him that he needed a woman by his side for his plans. Jackie, like himself a Catholic and from a good family, seems to be the right choice. What exactly JFK feels for Jackie, Lim Billings is silent in his account. Only the best friend from school and the closest confidant of the later president is tasked with keeping Jackie happy and he is in her memory. So Billings, in his early thirties, gay and therefore not a danger to his best friends, spends time with Jackie every Sunday. They go to the theater, look at Toulouse-Lautrec lithographs and Peruvian textiles at the Textile Museum, or attend a lecture on beauty trends while making fun of the costumes of the guests present.

At the cinema, the two watch “Blondes Preferred” starring Marilyn Monroe – the woman with whom President Jackie would cheat. When the actress later sings him a birthday song while Jackie is at an equestrian event in a dress that makes her look nude from afar, the first lady is ignored in front of the world. Today we know that Kennedy was unfaithful to her even before marriage. An FBI report designed to establish Kennedy’s criminal activities documented his trips to Las Vegas to mingle with showgirls who were said to frequent his home and that of Frank Sinatra. However, the novel leaves that aside, after all, Billings, who was also a loyal friend of Jack, speaks here.

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And their common fate of being overshadowed by Kennedy makes Jackie William Billings a confidant. He’s the one standing by her side when she first meets Brother Bobby and his wife Ethel. Her future sister-in-law talks about Jackie’s big feet and unproductive pelvis. After the two completely different women had almost gone into an uproar, Jackie ran out onto the balcony with a cigarette. “You’ve read enough romance novels to know that when the heroine is mistreated, the heroine takes off her tie and says, ‘I won’t take this another second,'” Billings says. But Kennedy says nothing.

This summer, Jackie has an idea of ​​what her future will be alongside Kennedy. “She should take her place in a big sorority,” the author puts it in his best friend’s mouth, “and absorbs every spoonful of attention it takes away from her. Didn’t she resist the role back then?” She and Jack hadn’t seen each other in months and rarely spoke on the phone. A friendship closes Jackie with Billings He is fascinated by her elegance and worldly spirit On how she orders the wine list at the quintessential French Sorbonne at the fine restaurant “La Salle du Bois” in Washington, D.C. On her “lavish champagne silk taffeta dress over caviar” And about her aristocratic beauty in general It is the true love story in this novel.

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Shy of the audience at the time, today she's an afterlife influencer: Caroline Bessette Kennedy

Jackie Kennedy was one of the most influential first ladies and, ironically, took the semi-domestic duties of the White House very seriously. She invited world-class artists, elevated the dusty kitchen (and wine cellar) to international standards, and was loved by the media so much that the US president jokingly introduced himself as Jackie Kennedy’s husband during his visit to Paris. The dark side of her marriage, as well as the “scandalous marriage” with Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis after it ended violently, did not hurt her image much. She is remembered today as the narrator of this amusing novel that portrays her through the passionate eyes of a best friend: in perfectly tailored pink Chanel suits and bowler hats.

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