I have to say, after the first 40 pages or so (which felt a little disjointed to me, as if the author was "warming up"), I was completely hooked on this book. And to see the bold faced names presented in such a human light was compelling. What was even more compelling was how Ms. Radziwell presented such a searingly honest portrayal of the pain of being a helpless witness to the ravaging power of a horrible disease. I read this book in two days.
Ms. Radziwill is a wonderful writer and I look forward to reading some of her fiction. Despite how much I enjoyed this book, I only gave it four stars instead of five for a few reasons.
First, I felt like the portrayal of her husband was fuzzy compared to her vivid portrait of the other characters, like Carolyn and John. Perhaps that is because when you're so close to someone it is hard to see them objectively. Perhaps it was too painful to provide more detail. Whatever the reason, as a reader I felt distant from him, and it was really her pain I connected with rather than his.
Second, she emphasized how much this famous family valued their privacy and what great lengths her husband went to to keep up appearances. Yet, she exposed all of them in detail. While of course this was her life and her story to tell, it still held a whiff of betrayal to me. Even the dead have rights to their secrets and I almost felt like I'd seen and heard things I shouldn't have.
I picked this up because I am a real housewives fan. However, it is hard from me to reconcile the articulate, intelligent, sensitive woman in the book to the vapid creature on screen. I hope as the season progresses we'll see more of the Carole presented the book. I hope even more that the Carole in the book still exists and hasn't been completely transformed into the character presented on Bravo.
Bernadette Walsh http://www.bernadettewalsh.com