Audiobook · Kelly M · Memoir · Name in Title · Non-Fiction

Jackie’s Girl | by Kathy McKeon

Jackie's Girl: My Life with the Kennedy Family

Jackie’s Girl: My Life with the Kennedy Family by Kathy McKeon
(Simon & Schuster, 2017, 321 pages)

As a teenager, author Kathy McKeon left Ireland for the U.S., and in 1964, landed a job as the personal assistant to Jacqueline Kennedy.  Referred to as “Jackie’s Girl” by JFK’s mother Rose Kennedy—who couldn’t keep all of her children’s employee’s names straight—McKeon also often served as the caretaker of Mrs. Kennedy’s children, Caroline and John. This is an insightful and touching story of what it was like to be close to the most famous family in the world at the time. Mrs. Kennedy (called “Madam” by McKeon) expected loyalty of her employees—sometimes demanding overtime even if they had other plans, or requiring them to drop everything at the last minute to leave the country for 2 or 3 weeks—but she returned the loyalty “tenfold” with her generosity and otherwise caring nature. The stories of Caroline and John as children are also very endearing. McKeon takes the reader through all of the Kennedy main events—the untimely assassination of Robert Kennedy, the tragic death of a young woman in a car driven by Ted Kennedy, Jackie’s marriage to Aristotle Onassis, and, ultimately, the deaths of Jackie and John, Jr., to whom she had remained close over the years. The audio version of the book is read by Irish American actress Aedin Moloney, whose accent gives authenticity to McKeon’s words. She also does a great job with the sweet, high, sometimes breathy voice of Jacqueline Kennedy. The book made me chuckle and cry, and I would listen to it again. Highly recommended.

5/5 stars

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Books · Julia P · Non-Fiction

Wild Things | by Bruce Handy

Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult

Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult
by Bruce Handy
(Simon & Schuster, 2017, 307 pages)

Wild Things is a book that’s right up my alley. You want to talk about children’s literature I’m all ears! Handy looks back at some classic children’s books and puts them in context. The breadth of children’s literature makes it impossible for Handy to touch on everything and he acknowledges that early on but he highlights the classics that will hit home for most people.

In addition to deconstructing each story Handy also offers up biographical information about the authors. You come away not only wanting to revisit classics and explore more children’s books, but also wanting to learn more about these authors who have had such an impact on our lives and the lives of our children. I’ve been looking forward to reading some of my favorites out loud to my daughter when she gets a little older but this book only got me more excited.

Wild Things encourages you to appreciate and really explore the children’s books that are in our lives. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone.

4/5 stars

Julia P · Non-Fiction · Politics · Women

Big Girls Don’t Cry | by Rebecca Traister

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Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women
by Rebecca Traister
(Free Press, 2010, 352 pages)

Big Girls Don’t Cry takes a look at the 2008 election and what it meant for women in America. A short blurb from the Goodreads summary gives you a feel for what’s covered:

In an utterly engaging, razor-sharp narrative interlaced with her first-person account of being a young woman navigating this turbulent and exciting time, Traister explores how—thanks to the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, and the history-making work and visibility of Michelle Obama, Tina Fey, Rachel Maddow, Katie Couric, and others—women began to emerge stronger than ever on the national stage.

This was an engaging (though at times depressing) read. The book lent itself to a lot of reflection on my part. I definitely recommend the book – and the bibliography will lead you to a lot more quality reading. But I think before I look into those I’ll be reading Hillary Clinton’s What Happened 😉

4/5 stars

Art · Humor · Julia P · Non-Fiction · Quick Read!

Sunday Sketching | by Christoph Niemann

Sunday Sketching

Sunday Sketching by Christoph Niemann
(Harry N. Abrams, 2016, 272 pages)

I follow Niemann on Instagram and didn’t realize how familiar I was with his work until I noticed how frequently his art appears on the cover of The New Yorker. There’s a lot of humor in his work and it makes me happy. In addition to being a collection of some of his pieces, Sunday Sketching also talks about how Niemann tackles the creative process. It was an interesting and quick read that only left me wanting to actually purchase the book for my collection and acquire his art for my walls.

This is a fun read for people who appreciate art/illustration and want insight into how this particular artist approaches life as a creative.

And for fun, here’s a taste of his Niemann’s artwork (all pulled from his website: http://www.christophniemann.com). You should also check out “The Gummi Bear Chronicles” on the New York Times’s Abstract Sunday blog – just because I like it ;).

5/5 stars