REVIEW: AND THEY CALLED IT CAMELOT, BY STEPHANIE MARIE THORNTON

An intimate portrait of the life of Jackie O…

Few of us can claim to be the authors of our fate. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy knows no other choice. With the eyes of the world watching, Jackie uses her effortless charm and keen intelligence to carve a place for herself among the men of history and weave a fairy tale for the American people, embodying a senator’s wife, a devoted mother, a First Lady—a queen in her own right.

But all reigns must come to an end. Once JFK travels to Dallas and the clock ticks down those thousand days of magic in Camelot, Jackie is forced to pick up the ruined fragments of her life and forge herself into a new identity that is all her own, that of an American legend.

And They Called It Camelot reads like a memoir, a “fictionalized biography” in the first person voice of Jackie. We are privy to her thoughts, her fears, and her determination to leave her mark on the world.

The story begins in her younger years, and we are shown her life before she met JFK, and then we get to watch their courtship, their early marriage, and the intermittent losses, like Jackie’s miscarriage and stillbirth before she finally gives birth to Caroline, followed by John, Jr.’s birth when JFK is the President-elect in 1960. Then we see her deal with his infidelities, but also see how the strength of their bond grows as they come through the challenges they face, including the loss of little Patrick in early 1963.

Even though I have read several books about the Kennedys and Jackie, before and after her time with JFK, this book filled in more of her thoughts and feelings, giving a conversational feel to the story.

Well researched, this book also shows us what Jackie’s life was like through all of it, down to many of the details. Despite knowing how it would all end, with the sadness and bravery that defined Jackie in the aftermath of the assassination, my favorite part was how she created the context that would become the magical legacy of Camelot. An unforgettable story revealing moments that will always remain a part of my own young life. 5 stars.

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