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Finding Jackie: A Life Reinvented by Oline Eaton: A Book Review

Finding Jackie: A Life Reinvented 
Author: Oline Eaton
Genre: Nonfiction, History, Biography 
Publisher: Diversion Books 
Release Date: January 31, 2023
Pages: 320
Source: This book was given to me by the publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: A brilliant biography of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, casting an era’s biggest “star of life” in a new light for a new generation

     In Finding Jackie, Oline Eaton resurrects the Jackie Kennedy Onassis who has been culturally erased, who we need now more than ever—not the First Lady who was a paragon of femininity, fashion, American wifeliness and motherhood, but rather the kaleidoscopic Jackie who emerged after the murder of her husband changed her world and ours. Here is the story of Jackie’s reinvention into an adventurer, a wanderer, a woman and an idea in whom many Americans and people around the globe have deeply, fiercely wanted to believe.

     Traumatized and exposed, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy nonetheless built a new life for herself in an America similarly haunted by upheaval. She dated and traveled relentlessly before scandalizing the world by marrying a foreigner, living abroad, climbing ruins, cruising the oceans, and wandering Europe braless and barefoot.

     She was an era’s most celebrated, exposed, beloved, reviled, written about, and followed “star of life.” Jackie’s story—treated like a national soap opera and transmitted through newspapers, magazines, images, and TV during the 1960s and 1970s—became wired into America’s emotional grid. Touching down everywhere from London, Paris, the Watergate, and 1040 Fifth Avenue to Skorpios, Athens, Capri, and Phnom Penh, Finding Jackie returns Jackie’s narrative to its original context of a serialized drama unfurling alongside the Civil Rights movement, women’s liberation, and the Vietnam War.

     My Review: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was one of America’s most iconic First Ladies. She was adored for her beauty and intelligence. Throughout her life, Jacqueline remains an elusive figure. In this new biography of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Ms. Eaton attempts to give an intimate look at the infamous First Lady. In this book, she shows Jacqueline as a traumatized woman who tries to recover from her husband’s death.

     Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was a socialite from America’s elite society, which meant that she was obligated to marry a man of social standing. The man who fit that role was John F. Kennedy. Throughout their marriage, Jacqueline Kennedy suffered many tragedies. Yet, the most traumatic experience was her husband’s assassination. Ms. Eaton reveals that after JFK’s assassination, Jacqueline suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder throughout the rest of her life. Thus, this book mostly covers how John F. Kennedy’s death impacted her life and the decisions she made afterwards. Truly, I found Jacqueline to be a very heart wrenching and tragic figure.

     Overall, Finding Jackie gives readers a more personal look at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Because John F. Kennedy was an important figure in Jacqueline’s life, I did not like how her first marriage was a brief overview. I did not like that all the tragic events that happened in the first marriage were only mentioned in one sentence. I thought there should be more focus on the marriage in order to form a clearer understanding of how John had impacted her as a person. Instead, it mostly focused on her second marriage to Aristotle Onassis. I was also not a fan of how the author would often go off-topic on events that had very little to do with Jacqueline Kennedy. I found the author’s writing style to be abrasive, for it felt like I was reading a tabloid rather than a biography. I also did not like how the book was formatted because it seemed  like a detailed timeline rather than a fleshed-out biography. Despite these flaws, it was still a very entertaining, informative, and light biography! It was a very quick read, and I read it in one setting! The author does an excellent job of showing who Jacqueline may have been after her husband’s death! Finding Jackie is a pleasant read for anyone who is interested in Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and America’s First Ladies!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


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