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The Importance of Being Kennedy

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  556 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
From bestselling author Laurie Graham comes the late-life diaries of the Kennedys' fictitious nanny: an inside look into the early years of the Kennedy dynasty—with all the juicy bits intact.
When Nora Brennan, fresh to America from Ireland, lands herself a position as nursery maid to a family in Brookline, Massachusetts, she little thinks it will place her at the heart of
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 11th 2008 by Harper (first published August 1st 2007)
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May 21, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!! I am a HUGE over the top fan of the Kennedy family. I find the whole dynamics of this family so interesting...the children...the raising of the children....the goals for the children....the parents involvement in their lives and these goals.
Well this fantastic author took the magnificance of the Kennedy family and created a fictional character of a nanny who comes to live with the family and help raise the children after the first son is born...and stays involved in their
Nov 08, 2009 Jane rated it really liked it
This is a ficitonal look at the Kennedy clan through the eyes of their Irish immigrant nanny Nora Brennan who looked after them from 1917 when Joseph Patrick was a toddler and Jack (always a sickly child) was on the way until the funeral in England in 1948 of Kathleen (Kick) Kennedy after her death in a plane crash. Through Nora's memoirs we are given a behind the scenes look at the the Kennedys - Mr K's many money making ventures and philanderings and Rose Kennedy's heartless mothering, frequen ...more
Aug 14, 2010 zespri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This delightful book about the Kennedy family is written from the perspective of Nora, the Kennedy's nurserymaid. Her journey with the family takes us from the birth of all nine Kennedy children, through their childhoods, and into adulthood. We view the trials and traumas of being Kennedy through Nora's eyes, and having Googled to check on various facts in the book - Nora's view seems pretty accurate!

Loved this book, Laurie Graham never disappoints, and she is a joy to read.
Dec 19, 2008 Carah rated it really liked it
Enjoyed Laurie Graham's writing again, loved the heroine. Wished she had continued on with the story a little bit farther, but thought the bits she did cover were wonderful. I liked that Graham wrote from a nanny's point of view; gave us some (fictional) insights into personalities we will never personally know!
Jun 24, 2009 Stacie rated it it was amazing
What a cool little book! Yes, it's fiction, but filled with so much interesting information. I love the way Graham set it up, and the way she has the various characters interact with each other.
Feb 03, 2015 Amanda rated it it was ok
The family is cursed. And they're all kind of horrible, it must be karma from more than one past life.
Jun 18, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing
What is it about an Irish narrator that instantly makes an amusing story even more enjoyable, the satire even more comedic? I took great pleasure in reading this book, the second Laurie Graham that I have read, hearing Nora's lilt in my head. Nora is the fictional nanny to the nine Kennedy children and she tells her story with a great deal of heart and characteristically Irish deprecating wit. The young Kennedys are as if her own children (or weans as she terms them), especially given the emotio ...more
Dec 18, 2008 Ellen rated it really liked it
I was in high school when JFK was president. I loved the Kennedy style; they changed the white house from frumpy and old fashioned to youthful and cosmopolitan. The media gave us lots of stories of the family's outdoor life sylye, I especially loved that the girls joined in the touch football games. With this book a darker side of the family is shown; both parents were totally controlling, Joe prepping the sons for political office and Rose keeping a tight Catholic rein on the girls. The story o ...more
Leanne Smith
Jul 01, 2014 Leanne Smith rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. Written from the point of view of the nanny of the Kennedy family during the depression and the second world war. So very interesting and engagingly written - trouble is with all historic fiction is I don't know what was true and what wasn't...Set mostly in London, it provides an interesting insight (albeit fictitious to a point) between that which American "aristocracy" and that of Britain held dear during the 30's and 40's.
Jul 29, 2014 Gayle rated it really liked it
A good recommendation - thanks Leanne! The early lives of the Kennedy brothers and sisters as told by their nanny. I agree that it's difficult to know what's reality and what's fiction but interesting nevertheless. I enjoyed the fact that a lot focused on the eldest sister, of whom I knew very little. Very readable.
Heather Hyde
Oct 06, 2014 Heather Hyde rated it it was ok
A very easy read and the insight into the Kennedy lives is interesting and easily followed. However when the make-believe Nanny leaves the Kennedy employ it becomes a story of her life with just snippets of the Kennedys after this and it's quite tedious in places, not really a Laurie Graham fan and this has really just compounded it!
Ashley W
Sep 05, 2015 Ashley W rated it it was amazing
I didn't think I'd like this as much as I did, but I just have to say I definitely enjoyed The Importance of Being Kennedy . The novel focuses on the early years of the Kennedys as seen through the eyes of Nora Brennan, a fictional nanny employed by Joe and Rose Kennedy in order to raise their nine kids while they are too busy planning and scheming for the future. That being said, in this book we don't see the assassinations of John or Bobby, but I have discovered multiple tragedies that take p ...more
Aug 06, 2009 Krista rated it it was amazing
Not quite as funny as "Gone with the Windsors" but just as enjoyable. A different spin on the Kennedy saga - narrated by the Kennedy children's fictional nanny. Interesting insight on some of the more forgotten Kennedy girls - Rose Marie and Kathleen, both of whom had rather tragic lives.
Feb 12, 2009 Sharyn rated it really liked it
humerous insight into the Kennedy family --this is fiction so the jacket says but it makes me wonder how much is based on Truth and actuality. i dont knwow why but i made anot that it tok me 6 days to read so maybe it was an easy book to put down.
Caroline Curran
Jul 27, 2012 Caroline Curran rated it it was amazing
Interesting to read an account of the Kennedy family from an employee perspective. I've read a lot about the family and really enjoyed the historical attention to detail that this book had to offer. Highly recommended.
Dec 11, 2008 Rf rated it it was amazing
I discovered alot about The Kennedy's including what makes them tick. Laurie Graham can make anything interesting this book was written from the perspective of the nanny.
Dec 09, 2008 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
This is a great book!! I had no idea some of this stuff actually happened! you will end up being educated and entertained all at the same time!
Nov 15, 2010 Mwalsh rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Historical fiction at its best. Great summer beach read.
Jan 13, 2015 Pamela rated it really liked it
I really liked this book--it's a fictionalized memoir told from the point of view of the nursery maid for the Kennedy family (Rose and Joe's children). It tracks all of them into adulthood, through Joe's ambassadorship in London, and then it follows Kathleen Kennedy through until her death. The tone of the book was chatty--like talking to a girlfriend. I read it in a day, so it was a fairly quick read. Recommended for anyone who's every been interested in this iconic family and how they got thei ...more
Feb 04, 2012 Laurel-Rain rated it liked it
A story narrated from the perspective of an Irish nanny, Nora Brennan, "The Importance of Being Kennedy: A Novel" is a fictitious work based on historic facts.

In the beginning, we meet Nora when she is hired as a nanny for the Kennedys of Brookline, Massachusetts, and in the true sense of the word, she becomes the "hand that rocked the cradles." She describes being the mainstay in the nursery, as both Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy went about their business and social activities. She literally reared all
Aug 08, 2013 Graceann rated it really liked it
Nora Brennan comes to the Kennedy household in 1917, when Joe Jr. is a toddler, and is there to see all nine of the Kennedy kids come into the world. She's there for their first steps, first communions and most of their other firsts, while their parents are off being famous.

Seeing the Kennedy family through the fictional eyes of the nanny is interesting, and a neat take on a familiar story. Those who have read biographies and seen documentaries will not find new information here, but that's not
Jun 23, 2010 Suzanne rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Like Graham's earlier book, Gone With the Windsors, I found this book to be a pretty scrumptious combination of biography and fiction. This time the subjects were American royalty--the Kennedy clan--and the narrator a fictional nanny who had a front-row seat to the making of the dynasty. It was an engaging read, creatively done, and was especially enlightening about the infamously ambitious parents, Joe Sr. and Rose, and some of the children I had heard little about, namely Kathleen and Rosemary ...more
Jun 17, 2014 Brittany rated it liked it
I had read this once before and thought it was entertaining. Coming back to it for a second read, it was, but not in a "I want to keep this on my bookshelf and read it every two years or so." It's a quick read and moves quickly through the history, touching only briefly on some of the bigger happenings in the Kennedy life.

Not a beach read kind of entertaining, but maybe a "it's the weekend and I'm looking for an easy read."
Jan 21, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I didn't think I would like a fictionalized account of anything Kennedy, but this was so detailed and told so well. It was also a period of time that I knew little about (Joe Jr. and Kathleen). It has spurred me on to read more about those two, track down Kathleen Kennedy: her Life and Times, and The Lost Prince. Laurie Graham is a wonderful storyteller.
Janelle Labounty
Jul 20, 2014 Janelle Labounty rated it really liked it
Fun behind the scenes view of the Kennedy family from the viewpoint of their Irish nanny. Interesting and well researched, the book gives personal insights into the character and lifestyles of the upwardly mobile family. Who knew Rose was so cold hearted?
Oct 08, 2014 Helen rated it it was amazing
An absolutely wonderful book from start to finish. Using the real story of the Kennedy family, told through the eyes of their nanny Nora (no idea if she is based on a real person or not though), worked brilliantly. It was sad, funny, shocking, poignant, always interesting.
May 15, 2014 Susie rated it really liked it
Fictionalized but based on fact. Tells the story of the Kennedy family from the nanny's point of view.
Fascinating and sad-good depiction of the time period as the Patriarch and his wife groom their kids for the political and social world.
Maura Seitz
Nov 05, 2013 Maura Seitz rated it liked it
I am not sure that I like the idea of reading a fictional book, covering such intimate topics, discussing events that actually happened. The Importance of Being Kennedy is a good, well written book; however, I felt that it stepped a bit beyond the point of respectful. Although the Kennedys are an extremely controversial subject in American history, with many debates over what is true, I felt that this novel crossed into disrespectful in regards to the glaring opinions Nora makes on the family. I ...more
Mar 20, 2014 Christy rated it really liked it
I'm a Kennedy junkie so I loved reading about them like they were still alive. From what I know about them this was historically accurate. I especially enjoyed the focus on Kick because there is relatively little written about her. This was a very enjoyable read.
CP Tang
Mar 31, 2015 CP Tang rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite authors of all time. There's a quirk and life to her style that turns the most serious subjects into a vivacious read.
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