O! Jackie, by Mercedes King
Summary of O! Jackie
Behind the poise and graceful smile, Jackie Kennedy’s life was far from perfect. Behind closed doors, Jackie struggled with bouts of depression, endured a heartbreaking road to motherhood, and had difficult relationships with those closest to her. Ravaged by insecurities and humiliation, she even wrestled her own temptations for both other men and divorce. But Jackie clung to the belief that she could make JFK abandon his wandering ways. Through the years, though, Jack Kennedy’s lustful escapades grew in carelessness and frequency, and most needling for Jackie were his trysts with Marilyn Monroe. When Marilyn becomes erratic and unstable, Jackie must decide how far she will go to protect the presidency and to save her marriage.
A “frequently asked question”: How much of the story is true?
Keep in mind O! Jackie is a novel; ‘not true’ by definition. However, I styled the story after many of he Kennedys’ real-life events. As most people know, JFK’s PT-109 incident, the Bay of Pigs, J. Edgar Hoover’s ‘secret files’, and JFK’s rampant infidelities are all true. Most heartbreaking for me was discovering the details of Arabella’s story. She was the Kennedy’s stillborn daughter. People have commented that it couldn’t possibly be true that JFK did not return from his vacation on the French Riviera to be with Jackie, but sadly, it’s true. Of course, times were different in 1956: travel wasn’t as swift, men didn’t always hold their wife’s hand during childbirth, and so forth. Even so, the tragedy had to be more painful for Jackie without her husband there to grieve with her. There are plenty of surprisingly-true elements in the book, but to list them all would spoil part of the reading experience. What turned out to be fascinating with O! Jackie is that readers have a hard time distinguishing truth from half-truths from fabrications. Amazingly, it all worked out.
My review of O! Jackie
Read. This. Book.
There aren’t many occasions when I can (and wish) I could use that as my entire review, but this is one of them.
Admittedly, I’m fascinated with the whole Kennedy “thing,” the aura of JFK (as well as Jackie Kennedy), the whole romantic notion of the Camelot era, the salacious rumors (which we all know are more than just rumors) about the Kennedys’ private lives…all of that. So, it took me all of about three seconds to agree to review O! Jackie.
Here’s the thing. It’s “technically” a work of fiction. But as I laid in bed, putting off sleep until I couldn’t keep my eyes open another single second (true story), I devoured every single page (heck, every single word) as though I were reading Jackie Kennedy’s private journals. It’s hard to discern what’s factual and what’s Mercedes King’s creative license — but who cares? O! Jackie is a triumph. As I read it, I wondered if this event or that conversation were real or the author’s imagination.
The bottom line is this: O! Jackie is wonderfully written and is even more wonderfully captivating. I loved every word of this “novel” (I put it in quotes because it still doesn’t feel like a work of fiction) and would read it again in a second. King is a remarkable storyteller; she has come up with a clever story concept and brought it to life in a most fascinating manner. This is one of those times that you simply cannot ask for more out of a book. It truly whisks you away to another time, another world — an inside glimpse at a world that has so long fascinated and intrigued us. And it’s a glimpse that you don’t want to let go off any time soon.
If you couldn’t tell, I strongly urge you to read O! Jackie. You will not regret a single moment you put into reading this wonderful book. In fact, you’ll only regret reaching the last page.
About the author
Like many fans of history and pop culture, Mercedes King has had a life-long admiration for the Kennedys, as well as an interest in conspiracy theories. With a B.A. in Criminology from Capital University and a passion for writing, she meshed her skills to create a story that blended fact with fiction. A founding member of Sisters in Crime Columbus, Ohio, she writes in a variety of genres and is currently at work on her next book.
You can purchase O! Jackie on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.
I was not compensated for writing this review. I received a copy of O! Jackie to facilitate my review. This post contains an affiliate link. My opinions are 100% honest and 100% mine.