Debbie's Reviews > What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love

What Remains by Carole Radziwill
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it was ok
bookshelves: autobiography-memoir

I was really excited when I got a chance to read this book. I had read Fairy Tale Interrupted: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Loss by RoseMarie Terenzio a while back. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of a young girl from the Bronx becoming the personal assistant to John F. Kennedy Jr. RoseMarie portrayed herself as a genuine, normal gal who got a fairytale job working for an extraordinary boss. I thought this book might be similar. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

Carole Radziwill was married to John F. Kennedy Jr.'s cousin on his mother's side, Anthony Radziwill. Ms. Radziwill was dealt a bad hand when her husband had a relapse of cancer during their honeymoon. He died five years later, just weeks after JFK Jr., and his wife and the author's friend Carolyn did.

The problem I had with this book is that the narrator did not come off as likable. The way she described her courtship with Anthony left me with the impression that she fell in love with the name and lifestyle before she did the man. I'm sure this isn't true but with all the name and place dropping I learned more about Anthony's lifestyle than his personality. She also portrays Carolyn Kennedy, her supposed best friend, in a negative way. Carolyn's quips always came off as putdowns of Carole's lack of style, not friendly teasing.

It pays to have connections. I learned that if you have a famous family member, you can go to the NIH for top notch medical care ahead of regular citizens. I'm not surprised by this, but the author writes like this sort of entitlement should be the norm for people like her husband.

Carole portrays her family as a lovable bunch of eccentrics and her background as working class. Interestingly, she like Rielle Hunter tried to prove her working class sensibility by mentioning that she furnished her home with pieces from the Pottery Barn. Alert to pretentious authors trying to seem working class: Pottery Barn IS expensive. Us true working-class folks buy our furnishings at Ikea and Target if our budget is on track and Goodwill when times are tight. We never shop at Pottery Barn.

I feel badly for Carole Radziwill's husband's illness and death. It appears that Carole is intelligent and was successful at her job at ABC. However, I did not enjoy her book. Perhaps, I'm just bitter because I'll never be one of the beautiful people. I don't understand them and I suspect people like Carole Radziwill wouldn't understand me either.
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Reading Progress

January 24, 2013 – Started Reading
January 24, 2013 – Shelved
January 24, 2013 – Shelved as: autobiography-memoir
January 24, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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Michelle Tarchinski I couldn't have said that better.....well EVER! You hit the nail on the head!


Nicki A good horse knows the way home....,..and to the local goodwill


Susan Actually, Carole and Anthony's rented beach house is the one furnished with Pottery Barn pieces. She mentions Pottery Barn, not to prove her working-class cred, but to indicate that the beach house is "modest by Hamptons standards" (page 88 of the hardcover edition).


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