Review

Farewell, Jackie: A Portrait of Her Final Days

by Edward Klein



Edward Klein, a well-known Kennedy biographer, has marked the 10th
Anniversary of the death of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis with a new
biography, FAREWELL, JACKIE, which details the final six months of
her extraordinary life.

FAREWELL, JACKIE begins with her fateful fall from a horse during a
hunting trip that led doctors to discover that Jackie had developed
non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a form of cancer. Klein uses stories and
anecdotes from many of Jackie's personal friends and coworkers to
detail life after her diagnosis. Interspersed throughout the book
are flashbacks revealing pieces of Jackie's life that helped define
the independent woman she had become. The reader is given snapshots
of her early life, including her powerful relationship with her
father, her education and training that allowed her to flourish
into a graceful and glamorous woman, and her passionate and
tumultuous relationship with John F. Kennedy and the days of
Camelot. Many of the stories found within the pages of Klein's book
are familiar and have been noted in many Kennedy biographies. What
this book does well is delve into Jackie's own personal exploration
into the tragic fate of facing her own imminent death and how she
handled it with grace, spirituality and hope.

Although Jackie was a woman who fiercely guarded her privacy, Klein
uses quotes and stories from close friends of Jackie's who open up
about their perception of this secretive woman. There are also
interviews with many of Jackie's coworkers from her days as an
acquiring editor at Doubleday. She was a dedicated editor who would
devote herself to her writers, going so far as to call them at all
hours of the night to

give advice, insight and offer help. Jackie was also very intent on
keeping up her correspondence with friends and loved ones, often
sending personal notes of hope and love.

The book explores Jackie's powerful relationship with her children,
John Jr. and Caroline. Klein goes into great detail about the
wishes, fears and undying love that she had for the "children of
Camelot." Jackie was a doting grandmother who had an unbreakable
bond with Caroline's children. In a note that Jackie left to
Caroline, she wrote, "The children have been a wonderful gift to me
and I'm thankful to have once again seen our world through their
eyes. They restore my faith in the family's future."

The reader is also introduced to Jackie's relationship with Maurice
Tempelsman and some of the private romantic details of their love
affair. Tempelsman was a man who greatly loved Jackie and gave her
strength and support in her final days. The enduring legacy of the
Kennedys is a sentiment that has been expressed in numerous
biographies, but it is handled with beautiful poignancy and
intricate detail in FAREWELL, JACKIE.

Klein depicts Jackie as a woman with eternal hope and a triumphant
spirit. He has written a wonderful portrait of a strong and
confident woman who faced the numerous tragedies of her life with
grace and dignity. FAREWELL, JACKIE is a simple biography, but what
makes it special is that it is about an extraordinary woman.

Reviewed by Jocelyn Kelley on January 21, 2011

Farewell, Jackie: A Portrait of Her Final Days
by Edward Klein

  • Publication Date: April 12, 2004
  • Genres: Biography, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0670033316
  • ISBN-13: 9780670033317