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Once upon a Secret Hardcover – 9 Feb 2012
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"With the benefit of hindsight and good old-fashioned maturity, she does not judge her young self, or indeed JFK, too harshly. She writes not just about the secret, but about the corrosive effect of keeping that secret . . . In short, she’s a wise old bird, and you can’t help liking her, or her elegant and thoroughly good-natured book." (Spectator)
"Her memoir rings true: now approaching her 70th birthday, Mimi Alford has no reason to dissemble, and her confessions of complicity are sufficiently candid to allow her professions of innocence to be taken at face value . . . Much of her vivid, soul-searching memoir is about living with her secret." (Daily Mail)
"A likeable book by a likeable woman, who seems entirely trustworthy." (Lynn Barber Sunday Times)
Mimi Beardsley Alford finally tells the true story of her affair with President John F Kennedy -- kept secret for 40 yearsSee all Product description
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This book is well written, although very short and therefore not the best value for money. It's also without photos - quite unusual for this sort of book. Having said that, the brevity and lack of pulp to me suggests this is a very honest book - and one in which the author has felt no need to embroider or fabricate.
Read it and you will see a darker side to JFK (I have read a lot of books on the man, and this shocked me). It's not full of scandal or shocks (try 'The Darker Side of Camelot' if you want that sort of thing, not that I rate that book). But it does have details of JFK and his behaviour, and his total ability to switch off his morals; and his inability to control his needs for sex and control. In that, it shows what a complex man he was.
Some things did sicken me; not only because he was married - but because he had a daughter of his own, and I have no doubt that he would have been truly appalled if anyone had treated her in the same seedy way he treated Mimi Alford at times.
Worth a read; but be prepared to think a little less of JFK than you did before.
It seems that no matter how much I read about this man there is always something new to be discovered.
I've never really understood the fascination women had with JFK. It must have been the attraction of power because I've never seen him as a good looking man. Not in the slightest!
Mimi is young and naive and takes a a place as an intern in the white house. Having lived a sheltered life up until this point Mimi is, naturally very excited.
After only 3 days in the white house Mimi finds herself face to face with man himself. He is friendly and relaxed and makes a good impression on her. To her surprise she finds herself being invited on a tour of the residence. Alone. This tour included a visit to the bedrooms. I would not call the events that happened next an affair. What happened, in my opinion was nothing more than an abuse of power.
Yes the sex was consensual but I found the whole thing a little revolting. He thought nothing of belittling her in front of male friends and demonstrating the kind of "power" he held over her . This was not a romance. It was almost like he was having sex with her just to prove he could. Like a male lion mating with all the female members of his pride.
Frankly I think JFK ruined her life. Even after his death their encounters continued to haunt her. This secret destroyed her first marriage and led her not being able to find real happiness until much later in life.
Even after finishing I am a little confused regarding the motivation for writing this book. She seemed to find solace in revealing her secret to her friends and family. It seemed like by writing this book she was trying to validate her actions. She says she hardly ever thinks of JFK now but I think the very existence of this book proves otherwise?
The one thing in the whole book that really irked me was how blasé she was towards his wife. She never seemed to think how any of this would affect her and their children. If she was guilty it certainly didn't come across in her writing. I think they at least deserved an apology.
This was certainly an interesting read and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in JFK's love life(s)!
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I do not understand the hype or positive reception for it.
I read about 20 pages, was totally turned off by the very dry writing style - dry, colourless, prim, distant, dead - so started skimming the rest. Very soon I couldn't even be bothered to do that so threw it aside, it's going to the charity shop soon.
its was very short. if u have spare weekend and u wanna read a book. I read it in couple of nights. its very good. im sure shes telling the truth.
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Made me think, are they all at it?