Book Club: Fairytale Interrupted

Read: Fairytale Interrupeted: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Loss by RoseMarieTerenzio
Stars: Four

Drinking: Rooibus Peach Bloom, Teavana

Terenzio spent five years working for John F. Kennedy, Jr., first as a general office worker, then as his personal assistant and a close friend.  Kennedy and his wife, Carolyn, were as close as siblings to Terenzio.  Their sudden, tragic deaths ripped apart Terenzio’s world as it was already fraying.

I really enjoyed Fairytale Interrupted.  I was very young when the Kennedys’ plane disappeared, and the period from 1992 – 1997 is not one where I was remotely politically or culturally engaged (the Spice Girls notwithstanding).  It’s interesting to look back at recent history.

The memoir is not a history story, however.  It is Terenzio’s closure to a wonderful part of her life that ended so abruptly.  One day she was “RoseMarie from John Kennedy’s office” going to designer shops and hair stylists, meeting important people in New York and Washington. The next, she was lost, missing her close friends, her job, and her life.

My only issue with Fairytale Interrupted is that it doesn’t fully live up to it’s premise.  I think that while Terenzio has healed from the difficult year of her life in which she lost her best friend, her father, and her employer/close friend, the story is certainly romanticized.  The jacket flap claims Terenzio saw Kennedy as “an entitled nuisance” but she certainly sees him now through rose-colored glasses.  She clearly admired Kennedy – with good reason, it seems – but it means that when she does mention something negative, she immediately downplays it.  This elevation of Kennedy, and his wife to some extent, made the book a little less “real” to me.  We saw the idealized John Kennedy of Terenzio’s memory, rather than the brother/jerk she claims she saw him as.  It was not enough to detract from the story however.

Overall, Fairytale Interrupted is a lovely look at a man that shaped America, of the difficulties of celebrity, and the tragedy of lives cut off too soon.  I highly recommend it.

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Author: Lisa Fry

Freelance Writer & Editor. Book lover. Feminist. International development professional

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