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What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love | [Carole Radziwill]

What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love

What Remains begins with loss and returns to loss. A small plane plunges into the ocean, carrying John Kennedy, Anthony's cousin, and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, Carole's closest friend. Three weeks later Anthony dies of cancer. The summer of the plane crash, the four friends were meant to be cherishing Anthony's last days. Instead, Carole and Anthony mourned John and Carolyn, even as Carole planned her husband's memorial.
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Publisher's Summary

What Remains is a vivid and haunting memoir about a girl from a working-class town who becomes an award-winning television producer and marries a prince, Anthony Radziwill, one of a long line of Polish royals and nephew of President John F. Kennedy. Carole Radziwill's story is part fairy tale, part tragedy. She tells both with great candor and wit.

Carole grew up in a small suburb with a large, eccentric cast of characters. She spent her childhood summers with her grandparents and an odd assortment of aunts and uncles in their poorly plumbed A-frame on the banks of a muddy creek in upstate New York.

At the age of 19, Carole struck out for New York City to find a different life. Her career at ABC News led her to the refugee camps of Cambodia, to a bunker in Tel Aviv, to the scene of the Menendez murders. Her marriage led her into the old world of European nobility and the newer world of American aristocracy.

What Remains begins with loss and returns to loss. A small plane plunges into the ocean, carrying John Kennedy, Anthony's cousin, and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, Carole's closest friend. Three weeks later Anthony dies of cancer. The summer of the plane crash, the four friends were meant to be cherishing Anthony's last days. Instead, Carole and Anthony mourned John and Carolyn, even as Carole planned her husband's memorial.

Carole Radziwill has an anthropologist's sensibility and a journalist's eye. She writes about families, their customs, their secrets, and their tangled intimacies with remarkable acuity and humanity. She explores the complexities of marriage, the importance of friendship, and the challenges of self-invention with unflinching honesty. This is a compelling story of love, loss, and, ultimately, resilience.

©2005 Carole Radziwill; (P)2005 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division.

What the Critics Say

"Carole Radziwill, a wonderful writer...gets at the essence of what matters: friendship, compassion, destiny." (Oprah Winfrey)
"Carole Radziwill has written an unsparing, unsentimental, and inspiring memoir. A spirited journalist with a novelist's eye for detail, she delivers a stunningly honest story about life's great joys and deepest pain." (Christiane Amanpour)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (179 )
5 star
 (98)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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4.4 (121 )
5 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (119 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Andrea Cambridge, MA, USA 10-05-05
    Andrea Cambridge, MA, USA 10-05-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    "Kept me listening!"

    This is a very good listen, read by the author. I found myself unable to stop and listened to the whole book during one day. It's very much about her life with Anthony Radziwill and how their life evolves in his bout with cancer. It's about their lives as related to their jobs, family life and how that world intersects sometimes with Carolyn Bessett and JFK, Jr. Carole describes Carolyn Bessett as her best friend. I found the book down to earth, heart-warming and was amazed at how she dealt with losing her beloved husband only days after the death of JFK, Jr. and Carolyn Bessett, her best friend.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Mystic, CT, United States 11-25-12
    Michelle Mystic, CT, United States 11-25-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "painfully good"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    yes. i wanted to drive just to hear more of this incredibly intimate and powerful story. you felt like you were there, in the room, listening to their conversation; it was amazing.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindhi ESCONDIDO, CA, United States 04-12-06
    Cindhi ESCONDIDO, CA, United States 04-12-06 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
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    15
    8
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    "Tragedy and Immeasurable Courage"

    WHAT REMAINS is an amazing and heart wrenching account of real people, regardless of their fame or stature. The author clearly wrote it out of grief with no desire to capitalize on anyone's death. I was struck by the enormous weight placed on the shoulders of John Kenedy not just because of who he was but because of the part he played in his family. Always the one who new what to say or do to difuse tensions, bring people together, and comfort others; they waited for him to sweep in and make everything right in all situations. I could see why John loved Caroline over all others. She was an amazing and dynamic person with a heart the size of Alaska. She took it upon herself to adopt people she hardly knew and, like a rock, see them through to the very end. Tracing these individuals lives through tragedy, triumph and ultimate loss reminded me that it is no less difficult to be a human being regardless of one's station in life. I also realized that it had never crossed my mind that all these people had fascinating careers and personal aspirations seperate from their family fortunes. My heart was deeply touched and I now feel justified in my grief over the loss of these people I never knew.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 09-14-14
    Mary 09-14-14

    Thank God for a mother that read to all the time. Now I can not go anywhere without iPod and headphones. Books allow me to be an armchair traveler, student and audience.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    16
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    "I also give this book What Remains 5 Stars."

    I have listened to this book too many times to count. It is heartbreaking. Carole Radziwill tells the story of John Kennedy Jr's last flight. What draws me to this book is Carole's reading of her own story. She was a very close friend of John's wife. She and her husband the son of Lee Radzwill were enjoying the perfect life, a happy life. The he was stricken with Cancer. I don't want to tell you everything but this is a beautiful book. At one time I was a grief counselor trying to help people deal with loss. I Will admire Carole forever because of the things she did right and how like all of us who loose someone, what not to do. No it is not chock full of Kennedy stories, it is the story of 4 very good friends. So worth the listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan May Kenova, WV USA 08-12-14
    Susan May Kenova, WV USA 08-12-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This book went straight for my heart"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely, yes! I bought the book and read it and then later bought the audible version to listen to in my car while driving.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The raw emotions that I could feel through the writing of Carole Radziwill The book had a very nice foundation so you get a feel of Carole's personality before meeting Anthony. Carole's friendship with Carolyn Bessette was beautifully described and reminded me of me and my best friends relationship.


    What about Carole Radziwill’s performance did you like?

    Ms. Radziwill's writing skills are quite evident and her ability to describe things make a visual picture in ones mind quite easy


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, even though I had read the hard copy when it first came out, I found myself looking for reasons to drive somewhere so that I could listen to it


    Any additional comments?

    I am an avid Real Housewives fan, but I read this book before Carole was a cast member. I was very happy when she was cast because I like seeing that she is ok after a life changing tragedy (unexpected) collided with a life changing tragedy that was expected.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    anastasia Westfield, NJ, United States 08-01-13
    anastasia Westfield, NJ, United States 08-01-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    17
    6
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    "an interesting perspective into a time remembered"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    the author reading her own story was a bit flat in her performance. I realize that the story is somber, but read by a professional may have given the story a bit more personality.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Carole Radziwill’s performances?

    no


    What else would you have wanted to know about Carole Radziwill’s life?

    nothing


    Any additional comments?

    the book was a good story, but not what i was expecting...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karina 09-04-12
    Karina 09-04-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "What Remains"
    What made the experience of listening to What Remains the most enjoyable?

    I loved hearing her perspective. We were only privvy to tidbits on the news and I found Carole's telling heartbreaking, yet powerful.
    She's quite the inspiration.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Carole!


    Have you listened to any of Carole Radziwill’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I would have liked to hear more about how she coped afterwards and was able to move on, she's an interesting and inspirational woman, so accomplished and intelligent!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beadiii 09-03-12
    Beadiii 09-03-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    2
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    "Story of a great friendship and two tragedies"

    I read this book because I couldn't understand why a woman with a brain and an interesting life would want to participate in a Real Housewives series. (Still don't have that answer.) The book is surprisingly well written, and Carole does an excellent job of reading it. For some reason, the portrait of her friendship with Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy is fuller and richer than that of her too-brief relationship with her husband, whose illness and death she bravely chronicles.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Valentina New York, NY, United States 06-06-12
    Valentina New York, NY, United States 06-06-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Was expecting a lot more."
    Would you try another book from Carole Radziwill and/or Carole Radziwill?

    No


    What could Carole Radziwill have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Less trivia and more emotion.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Carole Radziwill?

    Don't know.


    What character would you cut from What Remains?

    Not applicable. Actually, I would have liked less about all the characters and more of what she went through personally.


    Any additional comments?

    I was hoping for a more in-depth look as the survivor of tragedy. More of what she went through personally. It seems as though she wrote the book as a mere record of events, keeping what was going inside her at a safe distance from the reader. An accurate chronicle of a horrible tragedy but no more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda 09-03-10
    Brenda 09-03-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    44
    18
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    "Interesting"

    What a different take on JFK Jr's life. It was an easy listen. Such heartbreak during the time period.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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