Mike Kueber's Blog

September 7, 2012

Sunday Book Review #83 – Fairy Tale Interrupted by RoseMarie Terenzio

Filed under: Biography — Mike Kueber @ 12:31 am
Tags: , , , ,

This book is “A memoir of life, love, and loss.” 

Its author, Rosemarie Terenzio, stumbled across John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr. when she worked for a small public-relations company in Manhattan and stuck with him as a personal assistant for five years as he developed his magazine, George, from 1995 to his death in 1999.  She was a young girl from an outer borough – The Bronx – and he was a cosmopolitan, privileged gent from Manhattan.  Yet, despite their different breeding, she formed a close bond with him and his wife Carolyn based on shared values and sensibilities.

JFK, Jr. was an American icon from the time of his father’s assassination in 1963, and, as a typical American, I followed his life as if he were American royalty.  But I never got a sense of what he was really like, and that is why I decided to read this book. 

In Fairy Tale Interrupted, Terenzio does an excellent job of communicating how prominent JFK, Jr. was and how he dealt with his prominence.  His mother, Jackie, famously said that no parents can feel satisfied unless their kids flourish, and JFK, Jr. flourished in every meaningful way.  I was astounded to read how grounded he was despite the adulation that was continually thrown at him.  One of my favorite quotes from the book was his advice to Terenzio in dealing with the death of her best friend:

  • You grieve and mourn because, but Frank lived his life the want he wanted to.  The reason he loved you so much was because you accepted him for that.  Very few people allow others to live their lives on their own terms.  Now that he’s gone, don’t glamorize or demonize Frank.  Remember him for who he really was.”

According to Terenzio, who was close to JFK, Jr. and his wife Carolyn, he understood the value of a dollar, but also was not niggardly in hoarding his money.  For example, he gifted her with Christmas gifts of $2k and $5k in the years before her death.  And when his publisher allowed his magazine only $250 for a Christmas party (perhaps $10 a head), he wrote a check for $10k to throw a proper party.  The night of JFK’s death, she was staying at his apartment because her A/C had broken down.

Terenzio reveals herself to be an impressive person, but the main attraction of this book is getting to know JFK, Jr. as a person.  And the book delivers in spades.  JFK, Jr. was not a brilliant, great man, but he was a fine man who would have made his parents proud.


1 Comment »

  1. […] couple of years ago, I wrote about JFK Jr. based on a book, Fairy Tale Interrupted, written by a co-worker at GEORGE magazine […]

    Pingback by Sunday Book Review #140 – JFK Jr., GEORGE, and Me by Matt Berman | Mike Kueber's Blog — August 7, 2014 @ 2:45 am | Reply

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