Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath
In the summer of 1962, nineteen-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 start...more
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He literally tested the waters with her, inviting her to his regular lunchtime swim session and later giving her a private tour of the private areas of the White House, where she lost her virginity to JFK and b ...more
Characters in books are allowed to be three-dimensional and textured, as multi-layered as lasagna. But when a narrator's approach to a character is unclear, and the two approaches are opposites, then the book may have problems. Is this the story of the mutual, tender love affair between the charming young President and the woman he was drawn to in a passionate, if il ...more
She could have said no,you say. I challenge any woman who has ever been 19 years old, love and attention starved, and naiive of the ways of the world, to say Mimi Alford could have said no to the President of the United States ...more
I guess my thoughts about what I felt about the story she has to tell about her time as President Kennedy's mistress could be summed up by my reaction to a photo of President Kennedy in today's paper. The article that ...more
Why? Here's why.
First of all, the author came off as someone who has done a ton of self-analysis and has really thought about what she did from every possible angle. She's a well-educated and thoughtful person and the way she can honestly report her motivation for doing everything that she did, whether they put her in a good light or not, was impress ...more
It WAS fascinating to have this insight into the President's personal world and how things like having affairs with 19-year-old interns got started and continued for 1.5 years with no one apparently the wiser - or at least everyone choosing to ignore it or not acknowledge it publicly. You can't help but be amazed considering the 24 hr. news cycle ...more
* I'm sorry as a young adult being manipulated into being a mistress.
* It's clear she needed to find a voice, but not sure it needed to be writing a book.
* Even with her caring a secret so long, why didn't she just seek a therapist! Give me a break...
* Ok, you had a sexual relationship with a President, but he's gone "Mimi". If you felt it was important to give your side, I agree you are just a footno ...more
Don't think there's much to spoil here. The subtitle kind of gives it all away. This book is pretty much everything I like a memoir to be: emotional but not overly sentimental; generous with detail that provides context but not gratuitously long; provoking but not salacious. And it's mighty conversational. I am impressed at the ease the author has in her own voic ...more
Ms. Alford's honest account of that year in ...more
The book is an easy read, but everything about it is disturbing: JFK's behavior, the behavior of his aides, but most of all, the disturbing retrospective account of this 70-year old woman who, even with 50 years' distance, thinks that JFK did nothing wrong. She's pretty delusional, not only excusing and justifying what is essentially multiple episodes of rape, but in believing that she and JFK shared an "inti ...more
Mimi Alford's story is almost too unbelievable to be true. If her account had not been part of the historical record, I would discount it as fiction; yet, what Ms. Alford claimed happened did happen. Sometimes truth is wilder than fiction.
Ms. Alford had a secret affair with President John F. Kennedy.
But, in 2003, the jig was up. In that year, the famed historian Robert ...more
Quick read, not very salacious, she describes the affair in a dreamy naive manner that makes you wonder whether she was a victim or willing paramour.
In all honesty, I am not sure what to feel about this book. I get the sense that she was caught up in the moment and made poor decisions that she is now trying to atone for. She says that she could have easily said no at any point and be ...more
I wonder how long it will take me to be able to resist the lure of yet another tale about JFK? I was pulled into Mimi Alford’s trap and her attractive book jacket, showing a young Mimi Beardsley in her proper dress and clutch purse and I admit I opened her book and read.
Hmmmmm. The motivation of the memoir writer. Mimi Alford says she was “outed” by another author and felt she must set the record straight and tell her own story. Okay. But what I came away with was the feeli ...more
With regard to the content, I gather from some of the reviews that there are readers who are irritated that this book was written and consider it an unnecessary taint on JFK's legacy. Others seem to think it is positive that this story was told as an example of a powerful man using his power to take advanta ...more
Well...I ordered Alford's book about her youthful affair with JFK and I understand why she wro ...more
The author lacks a ...more
Vowing to keep the entire thing a secret, it was years before Alford realizes how the affair, the death of JFK, and "the secret" have overshadowed her life and relationships.
The veracity of the story is compelling, and while the memoir wasn't loaded with extra details, it's surprising, almost, that the author was able to remember as much as she did after suppressing ...more
- for the believability ms Alford conveys describing her 19 year old self being drawn into the glamor and aura of JFK's circle.
- for the real sense of the time period she conveys ... If you lived then, you'll understand what I mean
- and she has written the book in a discreet manner which matches the 19 year old at the center of the first part of the book and also the adult she becomes. She tells you the story but spares you the salacious details which ...more
Often times, women are taught to stay silent about interactions with a powerful and well-admired man, in fear of ruining his reputation. However, Mimi's silence leads to a failing first marriage and endless emotional suffering - showing how detrimental silence can be.
I am glad that Mimi was able to share her story. I think it's important that we create a society where women feel safe to share their stories and experiences with powerful men. It's unfortunate that she is ...more