The Importance of Being Kennedy
By Laurie Graham
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780061173523, 368pp.)
Publication Date: March 1, 2008
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From bestselling author Laurie Graham comes the late-life diaries of the Kennedys' fictitious nanny: an inside look into the early years of the Kennedy dynastywith all the juicy bits intact.
When Nora Brennan, fresh to America from Ireland, lands herself a position as nursery maid to a family in Brookline, Massachusetts, she little thinks it will place her at the heart of American history. But her job is with the Kennedy family, so how could it not?
Nora has charge of all nine Kennedy children, practically from the minute they're born. She sees the boys coached at their father Joe's knee to believe everything they'll ever want in life can be bought. She sees the girls trained by Rose Kennedy ("Herself") to be good Catholic wives. With her sharp eye and her quiet common sense, Nora is the perfect candidate to report on an empire in the making.
World War II changes everything. When war breaks out, Nora and the Kennedys are in London, where Joseph Kennedy is the American ambassador. His reaction is to send the entire household back across the Atlantic to safety, but Nora, surprised by midlife love, chooses to stay in England and do her bit for the war effort. Separated from her Kennedys by an ocean, she nevertheless remains the warm, approachable sun around which the older children orbit: Joe Jr. and Jack, both serving in the US Navy; Rosemary, tragically unable to fit into the Kennedy mold; and Kathleen, known affectionately as "Kick," who throws a spanner in the Kennedy works by marrying an English Protestant.
Dear Nora has a deliciously inside view of everything that is happening upstairs, and in this fictional diary she tells all with the humor and candor that only a nursemaid dare employ.
Witty, irreverent, and a rollicking good read, The Importance of Being Kennedy is social satire at its best.