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Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting an Icon
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Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting an Icon

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  95 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Jackie Under My Skin is a passionate investigation of the ways Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis transformed America's definition of celebrity, identity, and style. In a gallery of fantasies and tableaux, Wayne Koestenbaum explains the late first lady's hold on Americans by examining the myths and metaphors that we've attached to her. An exuberant paean to a great star, Jackie Un ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by Picador (first published 1995)
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At his most exasperating, Koestenbaum seems a child of the forced captive mating of Roland Barthes and Camille Paglia. He’s got his dad’s parenthetic prolixity, and his mom’s loopy associative rants. And I would add Jackie Under My Skin to the pile of Books That Should Have Remained Essays. That said, some of the chapters—“Jackie as Dandy,” “Jackie and the Media,” “Jackie as Diva”—make this recommendably brilliant despite the 2(.5) stars I’m giving it. Koestenbaum’s special strength is his 1970s ...more
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone.
the greatest book EVER in the history of the written word.
Janet Young
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a bit of trouble adjusting to the style of this book. Each chapter is more like a list than an essay, the ideas accumulate rather than build, there are very few transitions between ideas, and the final paragraph of most chapters is an additional list item rather than what I would consider a conclusion. However, these may be characteristics of deconstructionism or cultural studies; I'm more used to the nonfiction style of, say, Adam Gopnik's essay "Learning to Drive," in the February 2 New ...more
₵oincidental   Ðandy
At first, I was a bit apprehensive about reading this book (having skimmed through it, I wasn't certain I wanted to read yet another Jackie-as-popular-icon book). But, in fact, it turned out to be excellent; a commendable work. It looks at Jackie (& her larger-than-life persona) from every angle imaginable; it views her more than a mythical icon - she's analyzed more as an archetype.

A self-acclaimed "Jackie worshipper," the author is articulate in his arguments & theories - he writes be
Jun 07, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book had a few interesting tidbits; otherwise it was an unending run-on of the author's opinion of what was behind Jackie's persona. The author seemed obsessed with making sexual comparisons with a lot of the incidents surrounding Jackie. If one wants to read this as a psychological fantasy/ historical novel, maybe it would suit the reader. The book could have been much shorter if a lot of the imagined facts, what I deemed page fillers, had been left out.
Jun 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read and perhaps worth a revisit in an election year where scrutinizing a candidate's spouse (read "woman", read "wife") is a minor pop culture sporting event -- because of course the "First Lady" of the reigning superpower should represent all women ... HA! Jackie wouldn't stand for the conventional dither ... and neither does Michelle! Rock the bump!
Jun 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was going to be a joke, but it was really an interesting examination of someone who was a cultural phenomenon and icon. I was glad to see that I'm not the only one out there who has Jackie O. dreams.
Avis Black
After finishing this book you're still left wondering why the author is obsessed with Jackie Onassis, a subject he never really explains. Readable, if somewhat peculiar.
Erin Tuzuner
Divas and queer intellectualism at their finest.
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked reading about Jackie but didn't care for the author's interpretation.
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In addition to Hotel Theory (Soft Skull, 2007), Wayne Koestenbaum has published five books of nonfiction prose: Andy Warhol, Cleavage, Jackie Under My Skin, The Queens Throat (a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist), and Double Talk. He has also published a novel, Moira Orfei in Aigues-Mortes, and five books of poetry: Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films, Model Homes, The Milk of Inquiry, Rhapso ...more
More about Wayne Koestenbaum...
“I mention Jackie mostly because I want to be assured that I inhabit the same universe as other people; that I am not alone on a distant shore. Jackie glues me to this world—most effectively when I can find a way to mention her name or her attributes, when I can find a pretext, however frail, to introduce her into a conversation, even at the risk of non sequitur, bathos, or incoherence.” 0 likes
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