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The Importance of Being Kennedy

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  837 ratings  ·  117 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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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  837 ratings  ·  117 reviews

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Nov 08, 2009 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
May 21, 2008 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
Dec 19, 2008 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!
Aug 06, 2010 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.
Jun 24, 2009 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.
Jan 27, 2015 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.
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book.....very much along the lines of ‘Gone with the Windsors’. Please Laurie Graham, write more of this type of novel.....they are wonderful.
Young Irish Nora Brennan goes to America in 1917 and starts a job as nursemaid to the Kennedy family. Nursemaid to all nine Kennedy children she witnesses all of the famous family’s life, both public and private. Great witty dialogue, the characters bought to life with comedy and sadness....thoroughly enjoyed this read.....
Vicki Tashman
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I thought the writing was great and very engaging. I was interested in all the characters and felt the pain when some of the Kennedy kids died. What an amazing family in all their ups and downs, manipulations and desires.
Linda Lawrance
Jan 08, 2013 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 09, 2008 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 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.
Heather Hyde
Sep 11, 2014 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!
Jul 13, 2014 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.
Aug 06, 2009 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.
Caroline Curran
Jul 27, 2012 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.
Feb 12, 2009 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.
Dec 09, 2008 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 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Historical fiction at its best. Great summer beach read.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It was the title which attracted me to this book and what a fabulous read it turned out to be. The narrator, fictional Irish nanny, Nora Brennan tells the story of the nine Kennedy children who grow up in her care. She describes historical events such as a visit from the Pope, an evening with the King and Queen and the war years in London. This is such an intriguing depiction of the Kennedy clan which has encouraged me to read much more about the formidable matriarch Rose, vulnerable Rosie and c ...more
Briggitte Suastegui
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved it. Being a Kennedy family history buff I found the attention to certain details about their life in this novel wonderful. It was funny, heartbreaking, frustrating, and, being historical fiction and taking everything with a grain a salt, pretty realistic. It was just a pleasant read as a window to an idyllic time in history. Would definitely recommend.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This novel about the Kennedys is Laurie Graham at her best. Young Nora is third in line of sisters helping each other leave Ireland and move to America. Nora's voice and satirical thought bubble comments make this novel go from good to great. While the reader learns all about the raising of nine Kennedy children, the most enchanting part is Nora's own life.
Ros Lawson
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very ‘wholesome’ fictional read written from one of the Kennedy offsprings (9!) nanny’s perspective. There is obviously quite a lot of factual stuff too which I found interesting. This is my third Laurie Graham read & I recommend her.
Alice Brewer
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 52books2018, hardcopy
#52books2018 number 58: The Importance of Being Kennedy by Laurie Graham. Whipped through this and loved it. Possibly better if (like me) you've never known anything, or cared at all, about the Kennedys. What an oddball, tragic, clan. V well written.
Susannah G. Stanton
Excellent novel.

Well written, believable. I know the history of the Kennedys. Sometimes it was hard to remember this is a novel. Well done, Laurie Graham.
Laura Paulisich
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this immensely until the very last words!!! #thankyousomuch @lauriegraham
Nancy  M.  Peterson
Good read

Good novel which follows the likely life of the Kennedys from the perspective of the nursery maid. I enjoyed this book!
Margaret Conmey
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Proof that stories based on real lives are better than fiction
Made me feel profoundly said at all those lives cut short
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Informative and well written. Very similar to another book about the Kennedys
Judy Semo
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the book is clearly marked "fiction", the way it is written and the intimate details of Kennedy family life can almost convince the reader that this is an actual, factual memoir of a Kennedy's staff member. Fun, humorous, rolls along easily - a very enjoyable read.
Ashley W
Sep 01, 2015 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
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