For many years, I have been a great admirer of the late former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. She had a great sense of self and was a woman of deep confidence, passion, and focus
I have read and am the proud owner of many biographies on her (at least 20, but who’s counting). and even 18 years after her death, the world still yearns to learn more about the notoriously public figure who wore big, black, round sunglasses and wanted nothing more but maintain her privacy.
Though there are many biographies that cover her entire life span, including her marriages, there are few that have documented her greatest love of all: books. 1975 was a big year for Jackie. In Tina Cassidy’s “Jackie After O”, Jackie’s life had completely changed that year: she was a widow for the second time, her children were growing up and leaving her nest, joined the working world as a book editor, and joined the fight to save Grand Central Station.
Cassidy does a great job of presenting the facts in Jackie’s life in an attractive way. She clearly did her research by providing background information that helps better understand the scope of what Jackie had to endure and what she ultimately achieved. Times had changed since Jackie was a debutante and a Kennedy wife. So much has been said in the media and tabloids on what Jackie supposedly was and did.
Cassidy provides amazing contrast between the true Jackie and the superficial Jackie everyone believed her to be. She provides examples of the outside perceptions of Jackie through headlines and personal comments of others. She provides many examples of what actually happened in Jackie’s life at those moments. The true Jackie was a fiercely intelligent woman, who became a great writer, editor, and preservationist. She was a voracious reader of the classics and art history and had developed a level of persistence rarely seen. An enigma wrapped up in a mystery, Jackie did the majority of her work behind the scenes and always credited others for her accomplishments.
Jackie wasn’t a perfect person, but often her actions were, unfortunately, displayed on the front pages of tabloids. Cassidy precisely captures the humanness of Jackie. Like everyone else, she has made mistakes, but as always, she handled them with grace and dignity. Until her death, Jackie continued to evolve as a woman in an era when women were not supposed to aspire to anything beyond being good wives and mothers; and she continued to make the best of every situation in which she found herself.
She was more than just a global celebrity, a rich socialite, and a style icon. She was an inspiration for every woman.