Shrouded by rumors, hidden by devilish good looks and born in to a family akin to Britain’s royal family, John F. Kennedy Jr. was the epitome of world...moreShrouded by rumors, hidden by devilish good looks and born in to a family akin to Britain’s royal family, John F. Kennedy Jr. was the epitome of world celebrity throughout his life and explosively during the mid ‘90s. Famous during a time when half of my generation had yet to be born and the other still recovering from the process, the impact his presence had never reached our realm and the knowledge of his presence rarely crossed our minds. While it’s easy to recall my smudged memory of a helicopter on our television screen and my mom’s face as she read the words flashing across it, my brain goes black when I push myself to recollect more details from July 16, 1999. And so the screen that had once shone with promises of Kennedy’s future, his ideals, his passions, had also gone black.
Although the past 13 years have not been devoid of his memory, the mentions of John F. Kennedy Jr.’s name are far less than before, and those who share the same decade of birth as myself are left out in the cold, a gross color of gray that grows even darker with each passing day, unfamiliar of the man many in our country still mourn. The enthusiasm and excitement he created over his mere presence, not only to the opposite gender but to politics in general, is evident in the VCR transferred YouTube clips littered about, waiting for us to find them.
A self-proclaimed Kennedy nerd and history dweeb, the novels focusing on the youngest member of ‘Camelot’, the prince, have always seemed to teeter towards too in-depth or more like an In-Touch story to me, much to my dismay. However, the newest publication written by RoseMarie Terenzio, ‘Fairy Tale Interrupted’, has proven to be the punch of color needed. It provides an easy read that not only reminds us of the intense hue that Kennedy once was - without glossing over the paler pigments to his character - but also renews and introduces the younger generation to the effect that passion and loyalty have on not only politics, but those around us.
Even though many claimed to be a part of the elite group who witnessed the explosive obsession, RoseMarie Terenzio was one step above the “I saw John-John at the coffee shop and he smiled at me!” crew. Working as his personal assistant, she soon became intimate friends with the icon and later, to his wife Carolyn. Although critics have claimed Terenzio is violating her friendship with Kennedy by releasing personal insights in to his life in her new book, two reads of the novel point to quite the opposite: filled with touching moments, battles of the wit and reassuring familiarity, it is anything but.
While readers may be clamoring for new, scandalous details about her boss, Terenzio does not reveal any woeful love trysts or horrible disgraces. Instead, she weaves her life and the impact he had on her in a beautiful narrative that dispels the pedestal on which so many have placed him on, painting a picture of a good old fashioned ‘nice guy’, someone you would want to be friends with. So similar to their first meeting in which she ignored him for stealing her office, this book seems to hold the same theme; while Rose felt a great love for JFK Jr. she makes it clear it isn’t always about him by choosing not to focus on only her job but also her family and other close friends, creating one of the most heartfelt memoirs I’ve ever read.
One of the greatest assets of the novel is the side of John that is revealed: his teasing attitude. Sprinkled every few pages, Rose and John had battles of the wit and frequently called each other names. Wherever he is now, I imagine Kennedy is looking down at Ms. Terenzio with his teasing smirk and a nod of his head saying, “Way to go, loser.”
The only fault that can be found in the pages of ‘Fairy Tale Interrupted’ is the ending. For some reason, even though we know the outcome, there is a sense of longing for the story to have a different close. With each turn of the ending pages, we hold our breath and wait for the pin we know that is going to drop, drop. Instead, it plummets and tears stain the pages. The mood of the writing phases effortlessly and although I only remember sitting on my mother’s lap, watching a helicopter on the screen from that day, I feel as if I’m there and take on Rose’s grief. Although this book does include John F. Kennedy Jr. and his royal fame, the center of the novel is not about the loss of America’s prince but about the times they shared and the fairytale that was interrupted too soon.(less)