In the summer of 1962, 19-year-old Mimi Beardsley arrived by train in Washington, D.C., to begin an internship in the White House press office. The Kennedy Administration had reinvigorated the capital and the country - and Mimi was eager to contribute. For a young woman from a privileged but sheltered upbringing, the job was the chance of a lifetime. Although she started as a lowly intern, Mimi made an impression on Kennedy's inner circle and, after just three days at the White House, she was presented to the President himself.
Almost immediately, the two began an affair that would continue for the next 18 months.
In an era when women in the workplace were still considered "girls", Mimi was literally a girl herself - naive, innocent, emotionally unprepared for the thrill that came when the President's charisma and power were turned on her full-force. She was also unprepared for the feelings of isolation that would follow as she fell into the double life of a college student who was also the secret lover of the most powerful man in the world.
Then, after the President's tragic death in Dallas, she grieved in private, locked her secret away, and tried to start her life anew, only to find that her past would cast a long shadow and ultimately destroy her relationship with the man she married.
In 2003, a Kennedy biographer mentioned "a tall, slender, beautiful 19-year-old college sophomore and White House intern, who worked in the press office" in reference to one of the President's affairs. The disclosure set off a tabloid frenzy and soon exposed Mimi and the secret that she had kept for 41 years. Because her past had been revealed in such a shocking, public way, she was forced, for the first time, to examine the choices she'd made. She came to understand that shutting down one part of her life so completely had closed her off from so much more.
No longer defined by silence or shame, Mimi Alford has finally unburdened herself with this searingly honest account of her life and her extremely private moments with a very public man. Once Upon a Secret offers a new and personal depiction of one of our most iconic leaders and a powerful, moving story of a woman coming to terms with her past and moving out of the shadows to reclaim the truth.
©2012 Mimi Alford (P)2012 Random House
For a book which, I presume, is meant to take advantage of the so-called salacious and gratuitous interest in celebropolitical figures, this book was so dull I couldn't imagine how it had found a publisher. Nor could I imagine what attracted JFK to this dullard apart from the most basic and crudely obvious. Don't bother with this because there is no high-minded insight and no low-minded juicy gossip either. Not even the supposedly professional narrator can stay awake through this.
Join me on GoodReads too!
Interesting memoir about our Favourite Philandering President.
I had a hard time buying her recall of her first encounter with him – I find it difficult to believe her naivete. It was as if all the events were happening to her and she was just a cog in the wheel. A helpless deer in the headlights powerless to say no. Perhaps 19 year olds really were like that in the 60s as opposed to when I was that age in the 90s, but I find it hard to believe.
Later in the book as she talks more about her motivations, she explains how she felt seduced and enamoured and flattered and special… THAT I do believe! I just think she felt that way from the word GO but perhaps does not want to remember it that way because she feels too ashamed or judged?
I also found her “sudden” after-the-fact-realization that she stopped being intimate with him right around the time she got engaged a little too convenient.
Ultimately, we must take her word for it. It’s her story after all so I give her the benefit of the doubt.
I thought that I would dislike her but instead I really empathized with her naivete. She gives insight into relationships. Kennedy overstepped his boundaries but in a very primitive live-for-the-moment way. The death of his infant son made me empathize more.A very compelling read.
Mimi Alford's account of her affair with JFK was very interesting and told with heart-felt honesty. No stone was left unturned as she unveiled her story. Being the same age as Mimi in 1962, I can relate to a 19 yr. old girl's excitement caused by her experiences in Washington, DC. Young and innocent, Mimi, gave no excuses for her actions, other than she was star-struck and overwhelmed by the affection shown her by the President of the United States. The narrator, Susan Denaker, did a superb job of telling the story, and I felt as though Mimi, herself, was speaking.
No one particular part. All chapters were thoroughly interesting.
There were no funny parts. I almost felt just like I was there, as the descriptions were so vivid.
Recommend the audiobook above other versions due to the excellent narration. Enjoyed this book and appreciated Mimi's honesty. Also, I have a much lower opinion of JFK than before I read the book.
yes... i love sitting outside listening to the book
she made me cry when the president died and she told her boyfriend about what had been going on.
No, b/c I heard what I wanted and it is definitely not something I would listen to over and over again.
Lame, but understandable.
I would have shortened the synopsis of life after the affair while still getting her message across.
Made me sad for her, and the fact that she even in later years thinks love can solve life's emptiness....it can but not from an earthly man.
Don't think that could happen. Just a very sad story. Especially when someone is talking about their own shortcomings.
Probably not. I do not think it was a memroble book..
This book gave insight into a very interesting time in our nation's history. It made me feel for Jackie, and all she went through.
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.
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.