Friday, November 4, 2016

The Importance of Being Kennedy by Laurie Graham

Nora Brennan, an Irish immigrant to America, has accepted the position of nurserymaid to Joseph and Rose Kennedy's nine children. As their nurserymaid Nora witnesses old Joe Kennedy as he grooms his sons for political office and sees how Rose prides herself on raising well-rounded, respected Catholic daughters, who will one day make wonderful wives. While the picture may look perfect from the outside, Nora's account of life with the Kennedys' shows that is anything but the truth as there is always some sort of malarky going on.

Much emphasis is given on the older Kennedy children including Joe, Jr., Jack, Rosemary, and Kathleen often known as Kick. Nora's not afraid to say it like it is personality tells stories of Joe, Jr. trying his best to impress his father, often to no avail. She tells how Jack is often not well, and spends much of his time seeing doctors and in bed recuperating from some sort of ailment. Nora's tells the heartbreaking story of her favorite Kennedy daughter Rosemary. Unlike the rest of her siblings, Rosemary worked tirelessly to keep up with constant knowledge the Kennedys prided themselves on. Often falling short due to a mental handicapher father had her lobotomized in the hopes of reducing the emotional outbursts she suffered from. Sadly the procedure left Rosemary in a worse state. Nora is the first to say how unfair it was that Rosemary was sent to an institution in Wisconsin and all butforgotten about. And finally, Nora freely discusses the rift that happened in the Kennedy family, when devout Catholic Kick married an English Protestant, resulting in Rose rarely speaking to her own daughter.

Though Nora Brennan is fictional, Graham's The Importance of Being Kennedy tells many true Kennedy stories with wit, charm, and humor in this book. For avid historical fiction fans or those fascinated by the Kennedy's this book is sure to be a wonderful read.