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Symptoms of Withdrawal
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Symptoms of Withdrawal

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  339 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Born into enormous privilege as well as burdened by gut-wrenching family tragedy, Christopher Kennedy Lawford now shares his life story, offering a rare glimpse into the private worlds of the rich and famous of both Washington politics and the Hollywood elite. A triumphantly inspiring memoir, the first from a Kennedy family member since Rose Kennedy's 1974 autobiography, L ...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 1st 2001)
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Lisa Hayes
Aug 25, 2009 Lisa Hayes rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vouyers
Oiy! This guy is such a *rick! I admit he's been through a lot of really gruesome stuff--namely the murder of his two Uncles. It was also hard that his parents' boozing was more important to them than their kids and that their marriage fell apart. It's very difficult being in the limelight as part of one of America's most famous families. It IS very, very hard on kids to be ignored by their parents and to have to beg them to notice. HOWEVER, what kind of a jerk brags for hundreds of pages about ...more
Pooch
Non-fiction.
Cast in the authentic voice of a guy talking to his shrink-- believable despite trendy psycho-babble terms --dysfunctional,wealthy and famous, a patented combination for serious problems. This is a book that should NOT have been written, but I didn't stop reading it. Christopher Lawford paints "L" on his forehead as a "second tier" Kennedy yet uses Kennedy as his middle name rather than his actual middle name, Sidney. Hmmm, delve into that one!

I know I wouldn't have read it except fo
...more
Peggy Bonnington
This book is initially interesting just because it's the family that it is: the Kennedys - and seen from an inside view, told by someone not particularly interested in holding secrets or withholding rough stuff. That said, Lawford is not exactly a riveting writer and doesn't get too deeply into taking the family members apart in terms of personality, demons, etc. - other than the alcohol and drug problems he and some of the others in his generation have faced.

I enjoyed reading the first 50 page
...more
Catherine Townsend-Lyon
I have to say that I was not to sure I'd enjoy this book. But as a person in Recovery, but not from booze or drugs, from addicted compulsive gambling, I have to give this book an Excellent Rating. How the description of one's sobriety and detox made me learn that what EVER addiction type others may suffer from, trying in Vain to *Control* our addictions, and of course that doesn't work....

I found that the Symptoms, Behaviors, habits, and the Denial, Blame, shame, and all of it is very Similar fo
...more
Kate
I enjoyed the inside and honest view inside the Kennedy family, and also the biographical info on Peter Lawford, Christopher's father. However, I was very let down, not only in the personal life of an actor I had admired in my childhood (Peter Lawford) but also in Christopher himself, who seems to be quite misogynistic. While he repeatedly insists he had/has great respect for his later mother, his sisters, and most of all his aunt Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (whom he relates having spied on while ...more
Louise
This is an autobiography of a person who had a front row seat at a very young age to view some incredible history. There is very little about withdrawl, (and a lot about addiction), but there is a suggestion that "symptoms" of withdrawal include self awareness. This book is about Chris' awareness of himself, but much more than that.

The first story is about Chris. What else could become of poor little Christopher? His first few years on this planet were rather wonderful, despite the detached adul
...more
Anna Cate
i disliked this book so much that i couldn't remember the name of it. it took me a while to find it. i listened to it on a road trip, which is the only reason i finished it. this particular kennedy sounds like a real jerk. he used the word "profound" repeatedly, yet nothing about his life is profound except that he's a kennedy.
Amy
CD/abridged/autobiography: There were parts of this book that were great, but I felt that Lawford either skipped out on some details or they were cut in the abridgement.
Lawford does a good narration, but there were thing I wanted to know. Like how did his wife put up with him all those years. When he wrote the book, he was separated from her and living with one of his various affairs, so I guess he was keeping mum until the divorce was final.
While he gets into why he was addicted, there is an
...more
Jennifer
I thought the first 200 pages or so were well-written and engaging. Unfortunately, the author decided to skate over his marriage and divorce issues in a way that made him seem arrogant and unfeeling and I lost my respect for him.
Sunnie
Memoir of the life and drug addiction of Christopher Kennedy Lawford. Not actually having the Kennedy blame but that of his absent father who was divorced from his mother and out of favour with the Kennedy clan, Lawford appears to have regarded himself as second string in the family dynasty.

His childhood was marked by an absent father, a mother who appeared to be emotionally remote. Her way of dealing with this insecure boy was to palm him and his troubles off onto various friends, relatives and
...more
Melissa Prochaska
Another mindless, but very entertaining and interesting Kennedy book! :)
Carol Waters
OK, page 300. i have plowed through this ridiculousness a page or two a day. Why? I don't know. Maybe that desire to hold out the hand of responsibility to a suffering addict. But in this book Lawford is a writer, but not a good one.

I think the editor gave up by page 300. He bought his wife-to-be a "bobble" of a wedding ring. B-A-U-B-L-E. Then his dad baled on him. B-A-I-L-E-D. And the most recent confusing sentence read: "He said we had everything and would he take care of."

Then, to the idiocy,
...more
Diana
Christopher Kennedy Lawford shares his horrific journey into substance abuse and the devastation left in its wake in frank, nothing-held-back language with life-giving and -affirming humor. I had a massive crush on his father, Peter Lawford, when I was growing up that transferred to Christopher himself when he showed up on All My Children several years later. Little did I know how Christopher was struggling at the time. But he turned his life around--he got clean and has stayed that way for over ...more
Bethany
Christopher Kennedy Lawford is a member of The Kennedy Family, the son of Peter Lawford (of Rat Pack fame), a recovering drug addict, and a very good writer. His memoir is an interesting one, about a famous family that seems - other than the celebrity sightings - to be just as happily dysfunctional as any not-so-famous family. He discusses hanging out with “Uncle Jack,” Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, and many others; however, the focus of the memoir is Lawford’s own struggles with addiction.

It c
...more
Lane Willson
“Experience, strength and hope” is a mantra frequently heard in the rooms of recovery, and Chris Lawford’s Symptoms of Withdrawal, certainly offers a great deal of all three. Each time an addict or alcoholic goes to the front of the room to tell their story, they are asked to cover three important areas – What we were like, what happened, and what we were like now. Much like the pirate’s code, they more guidelines really, rather than what you would call rules. Each addict telling their story mus ...more
Aimeslee
I found this to be pretty refreshing as Kennedy missives go, and I've read most of them. Chris is open and honest about the perks, constraints and excesses of life as a Kennedy. I still don't know if I buy his assertion that no one ever discusses with him who killed Jack or Bobby, or about Marilyn, the Mob, the womanizing, etc. It seems to me to be more likely that it's just a blood oath rule never to let on that it's discussed or to discuss it. I found it interesting and very sad that his cousi ...more
Samantha
Very good read

It wasn't what I expected, it was better. It came from a very different perspective and really grabs you. I really liked it and after all of the drug use, I'm glad there is a happy ending.
Wilson
Finding yourself in pain often lends itself to a path of destruction. None of us get to determine the length of the pain but we do get to decide to own the path and its direction. Mr. Lawford eventually took direction into his own hands and decided the path was his own.
Eden Mabee
There were times I doubted reading this book would be of much value for me (emotionally, inspirationally, or even research-wise), but in the end, I'm glad I read it. Lawford doesn't "play nice" with others in his life, but he does live life and learned how to live it on his terms... as his own person, not his legacy (and yet as it as well). It's not a Kennedy expose. It's the story of a young man who just wanted to be himself--the good, the bad, the gorgeous and the utterly horrific.

And it wasn'
...more
Lisa
I was really surprised how well I liked this book. I think some of it came from a fascination with the Kennedy's, and it was held because of Chris's ability to look at himself and his family and tell it how it was, not how it may have been spun. It was an interesting look at someone's life who on the outside should have it all, but really didn't. He takes a realistic view at how selfish he had been in his life and how self-centered he was, which seems to have come from what he learned from his p ...more
Donna
The Lawford name drew me to this book. What a combination, show biz glitz and political power. Not a good formula for a happy family. Christopher never had a chance…boozing partying parents from the beginning. I really liked his candid comments. I found his perspective as a Kennedy kid, (even from the outside as he viewed his life) revealing. I’m glad he managed to clean his habits up and not end up like his Dad.

The world of privilege always looks wonderful from the outside and it never is.
Melissa
This book was more about his addiction and recovery than an autobiography, which I was hoping for. I found him likeable and sypmathetic until the last few chapters when he reveals that he left his wife of almost 20 years and his children, and got involved with a series of what sound like self-absorbed, groupie actresses. Then I realized that he is not as "evolved" as he pretends to be, he's actually self-serving and full of himself because he's a Kennedy.
Wurtsboroboy
As the author stated, most people read this book to get some insights into the Kennedy family. If that's what you're looking for this is not the book for you. His family is barely mentioned. Instead you get a memoir of a drug addict , who keeps screwing up in life, and eventually leaves his family to "find himself" and of course the young babe he eventually hooks up with. His self depreciating wit doesn't hide that fact that he's not a nice guy.
julie Warmington
I heard a great radio interview with Christopher Lawford Kennedy so got this book out of the library. It is an interesting memoir about his life in the Kennedy family and his struggle to overcome drug addiction. I liked his honesty even if there was one part of the book where he sounded quite misogynistic. Overall I found his story engaging, touching and refreshingly honest.
Rona
Loved it..one of those books that just keeps you reading. Written by the son of Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy. Messed up life, becomes a drug addict..talks about Uncle Jack, Aunt Jackie,the whole clan. Very well written and so honest..He writes it as a recovered drug addict that just happens to be a Kennedy. I reccommend it for anyone who likes this type of thing
Steph
I enjoyed reading this story - perhaps because it allows an insight to the "rich and famous", yet it was told honestly and had a happy ending. I saw Christopher Kennedy Lawford and heard him speak at a luncheon. He was quite a dynamic speaker (and handsome too) -that it made me curious to read his story and learn more about his life.
Lennie
Christopher Lawford writes a memoir about growing up in the Kennedy family. While he's not one of the more well-known cousins, he offers insight into the Kennedy clan as well as his battle with drug addiction. I think this is an interesting book and I appreciate the honesty in which it is written.
Therese Rose
I picked this up at a library sale because of Norman Mailer's book jacket endorsement. It is refreshing when a celebrity memoirist can actually write. It is encouraging to read an addict's recovery story. There are some gaps, but it seems honest. I hope that Mr. Lawford can stay on that path.
Dale Stonehouse
For those interested in the Kennedy family, especially the Boomer generation, as well as addiction/recovery, Lawford's first book is searingly honest and heartbreaking at times. At times he is a little preachy, but I guess that can be expected.
Pat Lampe
I'm glad he was able to overcome his addiction. A little difficult to relate to someone who had so much, such a sense of privilege, and used it so blatantly. And still does. But I admire his courage.
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