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The Importance of Being Kennedy Paperback – 2 Jul 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (2 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007228848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007228843
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 1.8 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,131,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laurie Graham's social comedies have been described as a cross between the writing of Victoria Wood and Alan Bennett.
A former radio script writer and journalist, Laurie has been sacked by both the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs and by a raft of glossy women's magazines.
Nothing daunted she now gives vent to her opinions on her own excellent website. http://www.lauriegraham.com
She lives in Dublin.

Product Description

Review

'Deftly mingles comedy and sorrow, producing a serious pleasure of a novel that is both poignant and entertaining.' Penny Perrick, Sunday Times

'This is a very entertaining, often funny book, thanks to Graham's perceptive eye and deadpan wit.' The Gloss Magazine

'Brilliant novel by Laurie Graham. Narrated by her Irish nursemaid, this is a beautifully observed novel with the humour and candour you'd expect from the author of “The Ten O'Clock Horses”.' Bella

'One of Graham's undoubted strengths is the way she seamlessly blends fact and fiction. Real people, including the cream of British aristocracy, are portrayed with as much colour and verve as the fictional characters. This is an entertaining addition to the Kennedy canon, one that goes behind the public smiles to conjure up the petty jealousies and divided loyalties that plague every family. It also gives a fictional voice to two forgotten women whose troubled lives are almost completely overshadows by the Kennedy legend.' The Herald

'”The Importance of Being Kennedy” could just prove the perfect sun-lounger read.' Sunday Business Post

‘A vivid, creative storyteller.’ Judith Flanders, Times Literary Supplement

'Laurie Graham's entertaining novel delves into the Kennedy family legend, with energetic pace, witty dialogue and vividly drawn characters. With the plot already laid out for her, Graham brings her characters to life with sparky and funny dialogue.' Observer

'It's a fascinating story and one that will have you scurrying to Wikipedia to check the details (which by the way, are all true). Charming.' Time Out

About the Author

Laurie Graham is the author of eight novels. ‘The Ten O’Clock Horses’ was shortlisted for the Encore Award and dramatized for Radio 4, as was ‘Perfect Meringues’. Laurie is a former Daily Telegraph columist and contributing editor to She magazine, and wrote the bestselling ‘Parents’ Survival Guide’. In addition to her novels, she writes original dramas and adaptations for BBC Radio. Her ten-episode dramatization of ‘Little Women’ was broadcasted on Woman’s Hour.

Related websites: www.lauriegraham.com


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Witless544 on 25 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
I didn't want this book to end. My first foray into the works of Laurie Graham (but assuredly not my last...) was a delight from start to finish - and I confess I eked out the last few pages so as to make the enjoyment last. I suppose one might describe this unusual book as a 'non-fiction novel'.
I was nineteen years old when my hero JFK was murdered and I guess it was on the cards that this story of his and his eight siblings' Boston childhood and young adulthood would grab me from page one. Nora Brennan, a young Irish immigrant to America is employed as nursemaid when millionaire bootlegger and Hollywood entrepreneur Joseph Kennedy and his young wife Rose produce the first of their brood, and she stays with the ever-increasing family for many years.
The book is told from Nora's point of view and Ms Graham captures beautifully Nora's special Irish outlook on life, her sense of humour and her wonderful turn of phrase. Nora's opinions on Mrs Kennedy alone are worth the price of admission.....
As someone who has read her fair share of books about the Kennedy family, I take my hat off to Ms Graham's meticulous research. Interestingly, the book does not dwell too much on Jack, which would, perhaps have been the obvious road to take. No, it focuses largely on Kathleen the second daughter, known to her family as 'Kick' - and on her elder sister, Rosemary. The stories of these two girls would, I think, bring a tear to the driest eye.
As I said, I really didn't want the book to end, and the ending, when it came, was poignant and bitter-sweet and the final sentence stayed with me for days.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Kate on 14 July 2007
Format: Paperback
This is Laurie Graham's best book to date, with a great ear for the Irish sense of humour, and turns of phrase. The Kennedys are seen through the eyes of their Irish staff, who have a less than reverential view of the embryonic American First Family. Joe and Rose Kennedy are shown to be distant to their children, even while they push all of them to succeed, with the well-known disastrous consequences. I've read many non-fiction books about the Kennedy family, and none seemed to give such a genuine insight into their collective psyche.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By E Evans on 26 July 2007
Format: Paperback
After the ghastly Gone with the Windsors this book is a terrific return to form. Nora (the narrator) is hired as nursemaid to Joe and Rose Kennedy's ever increasing brood and her irreverent comments on the family are wonderful. It's worth reading, however, for that final sad sentence which stuck with me long after I'd closed the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By UK reader on 14 July 2008
Format: Paperback
Having read Future Homemakers of America and enjoying it, I thought I'd try another book by Laurie Graham and she is now a firm favourite with me.

The Importance of Being Kennedy was a fantastic read - less focus was on JFK and more on the less celebrated members of the family like Rose and Kit (Kathleen). I didn't really have much knowledge of the Kennedy family history - I was vaguely aware that there had been a number of deaths - and found this hugely entertaining, so much so that I am going to read up on them a bit more, particularly poor Rose.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ms. K. J. Waghorn on 3 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
I knew little about the famous Kennedy Family prior to reading this book, but now I can understand [and agree with] Laurie Graham's view that there was indeed a "Kennedy curse" and it was called Rose and Joe. With parents like them, it's not exactly surprising that events unfolded as they did.

If you weren't a Kennedy, you weren't anybody, and if you weren't Catholic you had a pretty slim chance of marrying into the clan. Money didn't seem to be a problem even with nine children to feed, but it certainly didn't buy happiness.

I read this book very quickly and enjoyed it very much. The narrator - Nora Brennan, a nursery-maid - is a lovable character who cares for the children more than their own parents do. Her descriptions of war-time London in the 1940s are eye-opening and really make you feel how depressing life must have been.

I love Laurie Graham's books. She has a wonderful way with dialogue and characterisation. I highly recommend this one!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael63 on 31 July 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the first Laurie Graham book I have read. I've always had an interest in the Kennedy story and have read many factual accounts on their family history. I thoroughly enjoyed this fictional story peppered with real life facts. I loved the other minor characters as well such as Fidelma the other nursery maid. Laurie Graham's way of using Irish turns of phrase made me smile, she really nailed the humourous put downs and didn't let Rose or Joe Kennedy off lightly. Highly recommend, I am now looking forward to reading some of Graham's other books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Psyche Out on 2 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
I have a bit of antipathy towards the Kennedy family for various reasons, so I didn't expect to enjoy this book half as much as I eventually did. It flew along, with warm cosy narrative that sucked you into the mid 20th century East Coast world of this startlingly dysfunctional family. In this particular version of the Kennedy story the narrator, Nora, is the lynchpin of the clan, not the matriarch Rose, and she brings a humanity to the Kennedy story that I didn't anticipate. It was definitely a two-in-the-morning read for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Angela Anderson on 18 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book,I really did not want it to end the writing was easy to read and you could be completely absorbed in the whole story. I have a very keen interest in the Kennedys and this was a very accurate insight into the early years of the family.
Funny at times and witty, the image of Rose and Joe Kennedy was very interesting.
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