Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Once Upon a Secret

Mimi Alford had a secret that she kept for decades. In 2003, her secret was found out, and the world knew that Alford had been just nineteen when she had an eighteen month affair with President John F. Kennedy.

Now, in Once Upon a Secret, Alford shares what she remembers about that time in her life. As someone who loves reading about the presidents and especially enjoys the Kennedys, Alford's book was one I knew I would enjoy. Now, after I have finished I am in awe by several things: first, that the President would have found a naive nineteen year old someone he was attracted to and carry on a relationship with. I am amazed that this was kept a secret -from Mrs. Kennedy, from Mimi's family, from her friends. And I am amazed that Mimi didn't feel as though she was doing anything wrong. Despite Alford doing a good job of letting readers identify with her- showing how her youth and inexperience allowed for some poor decision making as well as providing background about her upbringing, I am still totally amazed.

While I don't condone her decisions, I could easily identify with Alford's inability to speak up to the President. She had not been taught to be assertive and the President's status alone left her at a huge disadvantage. So much of what occurred later in her life directly related to her relationship with JFK.

Alford has provided a very unique glimpse into life inside the Kennedy administration. Her writing style instantly entertained me; this is the second book I have read over spring break in one sitting.

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