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4.4 out of 5 stars
48
4.4 out of 5 stars
The Importance of Being Kennedy
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on 3 November 2015
This was such a good book. I have not read a really engrossing story that has kept me hooked for a long time. It has been my little treat and one I have looked forward to reading at the end of a busy working day for the past few weeks. Now that I have finished it I am going to feel a bit lost.

Let's rewind. I have never read a Laurie Graham book before and came about this one by accident when I was looking for general books on the Kennedys after having read the story of Rosemary (and also visiting Chatsworth and the Kick Kennedy connection there). I was intrigued and wondered how a fictional character could believably tell the story - how that could possibly work - but work it does. I laughed out loud at Nora's put downs and comments, loved the way the saga began right at the start of the Kennedy childrens' lives and how she spent her whole life with them. The section in the latter part of the book about Nora's involvement in World War 2 was also very informative and could have made an interesting story of its own even without the Kennedys playing a part.

It has made me want to read more about the family but I know I will want to find out more about Nora because the character was so real and you want to believe that she actually was the family nurse maid! As others have said, the ending was very poignant and as I put the book down on completion I had a little cry. Not done that over a book for a long, long time.
I look forward to reading more of her books if they are as good as this.
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on 15 December 2013
Perhaps I'm biased because Laurie Graham is my favourite author - but this is another interesting and absorbing read. Laurie Graham can write in many different voices and styles and that is what makes me buy her books. I actually read The Importance of Being Kennedy quite a long time ago but, as I refuse to part with any of my copies of Graham's books, I had to buy this one for a friend to whom I'm introducing this sadly 'unpublicised' author.

The narrator of this book is the English nanny to the Kennedy family and the reader is drawn into the fact and fiction web of this famous family. At times very moving and at others quite lighthearted I felt I had experienced a history lesson and a really good story all rolled into one!
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on 6 November 2016
Another gem from the irrepressible Laurie Graham, whose forensic take on the Kennedy dynasty, coupled with her usual devotion to historical accuracy, makes this book a sheer delight.
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on 31 October 2013
This is the best book I have read yet about the Kennedy Family. It is about the life of a nursery maid looking after the large Kennedy Family. She has an amazing sense of humour which you would need to work for Matriarch Rose Kennedy in particular and a lot of her sayings I used to hear many years ago when I was a child and had me laughing. I can thoroughly recommend this book - I had a job putting the it down once I had started reading it.
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on 6 June 2014
I recently wrote my undergraduate dissertation about the Kennedy family and this book was a very useful source. Whilst many books write about the great JFK this book went into the family dynamics of the young Kennedy family. As the kids grew it then focuses more on Kathleen Kennedy and as such this is a story I became fascinated with.
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on 31 July 2014
A moving account of the young Kennedy's as recalled by their Irish nursemaid who was with them from birth.
A not very flattering portrayal of the Kennedy parents, particularly Mrs Kennedy. Graham paints her as a very cold hearted mother, a dreadful snob and more concerned about what the public think than her own children. The dismissal of Rosie and the non-attendance at Kick`s funeral beggars belief.
All written and very believable!
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on 30 March 2014
A wonderful contrast to the canonised versions of the Kennedy story. It is both touching and funny. A good holiday read
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on 14 January 2016
I enjoyed this book as I didn't know anything about the family. A good insight.
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on 25 February 2009
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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on 2 April 2014
Loved this book, found myself reading it through treats at times as was so well told. Also done some research on the Kennedy family whilst reading this book & it turns out the book is also very historically accurate, would highly recommend.
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