The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters: The Tragic and Glamorous Lives of Jackie and Lee

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Beautiful, intelligent, and captivating, Jackie and Lee Bouvier mesmerized America for decades. Jackie being arguably the most iconic of all First Ladys, and Lee standing as a fashion icon and princess via her marriage to Stanislaw Radziwill. What Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger illustrate, however, in their new book The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters , is a relationship between the sisters as complicated and intriguing as the public personas of each individual woman.

Growing up, the sisters competed for parental attention. Jackie, the favorite of their charismatic and absent father, was older and more patrician, a practiced debutante to the nth degree, while Lee—their mother, Janet’s, favorite—was more gregarious, outrageous in her style, and uncertain. Jackie’s confidence and self-awareness served her well as her life became a pageant of public appearances, thanks to her marriage to JFK, but Lee spent much of her life questioning herself, trying to find an identity separate from the family to which she was so deeply devoted and striving for independence from the sister who seemed to eclipse her at every turn. Lee was capable, beautiful, and had an innate and polished sense of style, but her star never seemed to shine without comparisons to the elder sister with whom the world was enchanted.

The genius of the book lies in its unapologetic honesty about the lives of these two icons. Neither is painted with an idyllic brush, and their relationship is rendered such in a way that readers empathize with the plight of women who could have easily been dismissed as poor little rich girls. But Kashner and Schoenberger don’t allow for that dismissal. Instead, they create a full and uncompromising picture of two women who, despite their near mythic status, were at their core simply human. Kennedy enthusiasts, culture junkies with a passion for America’s political and artistic history, and people interested in a story of sisterly commitment and rivalry against a backdrop of luxury will relish every page of this outstanding book.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 336 pages
Publisher Harper
Publish Date 2018-Sep-25
ISBN 9780062364982 Buy this Book
Issue January 2019
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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