I'm a liberal, so of course I love President Kennedy. Some elements of the story were hard to hear...but the story felt very authentic, open & raw - so, it was enthralling. Another key element to this being a very good book is that the story was more about Mimi than JFK - so, there was a non-partisan feel ...you definitely don't need to know much about politics to enjoy the story. But, if you're a political wonk like me, you'll be wrapped up from the very beginning.
I bought this book on a lark because I am teaching a course on the Presidency in the 20th Century. The book turned out to be quite well done for what it is and provided insight into the private life of JFK. It is not tawdry or titillating in its approach to a delicate relationship and its effect on a 19 year old intern. The book says volumes about how the Presidency of the US is all about power. The author was perceptive of a situation which she knew would get her nowhere in the end. Her silence for the intervening years was admirable and the inside history, particularly during the Cuban Missile Crisis and assassination were interesting in understanding the JFK era.
I'm glad she wrote this, it's interesting to hear how Washington works, and the effect this sort of power has on a young girl's self esteem. I guess it must be sort of intoxicating.
Wow, Mimi Alford is, on many levels, one brave woman. She was basically raped by Kennedy in their first encounter. He recognized that she was inexperienced and asked if she had ever done "this" before -- AND SHE TOLD HIM NO. He didn't step back and examine the moral dilemma created by taking advantage of this confused, inexperienced, star struck girl. He proceeded to had sex with her anyway -- the thrill of having a virgin perhaps sweetening the prize. Certainly a president has stress beyond the comprehension of most of us, and he deserved relief from it in the manner he was accustomed to. But Mimi, she should have been off limits, even to him. He clearly took advantage of his awe-inspiring stature. To be wanted by him must have been intoxicating. The real shame comes in the repercussions that followed her throughout her life. The secret created collateral damage one could hardly imagine. I feel sorrow for her -- it seems nothing could eclipse this series of events. Apparently she felt it was "safe" to reveal the story now. I don't wonder that Ms. Alford should have denounced him privately and had counseling for being raped and repeatedly assaulted by her abuser before she apologetically escaped.
This story is so A-Typical of what went on back in that era. Mimi is no different than a lot
of other young girls who entered the a "working world" at that time. Granted the man Mimi was involved with was the "President" of the United States, but after that, her story is much the same as many other young women back then. The only difference is they never got to tell their stories because the culprit wasn't the President of the United States and so who would care? Frankly, I think the book was a waste of time and money. The only readers that might enjoy this book are those who have had their heads in the sand for a long time and don't realize that these things happened regularly back then. Thankfully times have changed and women don't have to tolerate such illicit behavior by their male counter parts and employers.