In this evocative and affectionate memoir, Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, the last surviving child of Joe and Rose Kennedy, offers an intimate and illuminating look at a time long ago when she and her siblings, guided by their parents, laughed and learned a great deal under one roof.Read more...
In this evocative and affectionate memoir, Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, the last surviving child of Joe and Rose Kennedy, offers an intimate and illuminating look at a time long ago when she and her siblings, guided by their parents, laughed and learned a great deal under one roof.
Prompted by interesting tidbits in the newspaper, Rose and Joe Kennedy would pose questions to their nine children at the dinner table. "Where could Amelia Earhart have gone?" "How would you address this horrible drought?" "What would you do about the troop movements in Europe?" It was a nightly custom that helped shape the Kennedys into who they would become.
Before Joe and Rose's children emerged as leaders on the world stage, they were a loving circle of brothers and sisters who played football, swam, read, and pursued their interests. They were children inspired by parents who instilled in them a strong work ethic, deep love of country, and intense appreciation for the sacrifices their ancestors made to come to America."No whining in this house " was their father's regular refrain. It was his way of reminding them not to complain, to be grateful for what they had, and to give back.
In her remarkable memoir, Kennedy Smith--the last surviving sibling--revisits this singular time in their lives. Filled with fascinating anecdotes and vignettes, and illustrated with dozens of family pictures, The Nine of Us vividly depicts this large, close-knit family during a different time in American history. Kennedy Smith offers indelible, elegantly rendered portraits of her larger-than-life siblings and her parents. "They knew how to cure our hurts, bind our wounds, listen to our woes, and help us enjoy life," she writes. "We were lucky children indeed."
- ISBN-13: 9780062444226
- ISBN-10: 0062444220
- Publisher: Harper
- Publish Date: October 2016
- Page Count: 272
- Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-08-22
- Reviewer: Staff
Smith is the last remaining child of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, and her tender memoir recounts the family's early home life. Smith is the former U.S. ambassador to Ireland and a founder of VSA, an international organization providing arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities. Her narrative takes readers back in time to the 1930s–1950s, when the now nearly mythic Kennedy family consisted of two devoted parents and their nine children. Smith includes a chapter on the prejudice against the Irish that Smith's great-grandparents experienced, and their subsequent rise within Boston society. She concludes her narrative as her brother Jack becomes the president of the United States. In between, Smith divulges domestic routines and rules; chronicles the family's love of the ocean and sports, especially touch football, sailing, and tennis; and explores her mother's insistence upon "cultivation of the mind" and learning about the world. Conversations during family dinners focused on current events or history. Smith sprinkles numerous family photos and quotes throughout the narrative, providing additional dimension. This is a sweet and loving look back at the Kennedy family, written from the perspective of a daughter as well as a sister. (Oct.)
The last Kennedy tells her story
Our fascination with the Kennedys never wanes. Those interested in taking a fresh peek behind the scenes of this famous American family will eagerly gobble up The Nine of Us: Growing Up Kennedy by Jean Kennedy Smith, (the eighth of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, and the last surviving member of the Kennedy clan). Now 88, she recalls her childhood in vivid detail—long summer days frolicking in the Hyannis Port surf, winter afternoons sledding near their spacious Bronxville, New York, estate, and her family’s experiences in London when President Roosevelt appointed their father ambassador to the Court of St. James.
The book focuses on Smith’s youth and the loving yet firm parents who nurtured and guided her and her eight siblings. Smith’s deep love and respect for her parents is profoundly evident in this series of vignettes about life as a young Kennedy. Her mother saw “child rearing not only as a work of love and duty but also a profession that was fully as interesting and challenging as any honorable profession,” a mindset that likely kept her grounded while managing such a large household. And although her father lived an extremely busy life, he was generous and affectionate—“our champion and defender,” says Smith.
Being one of nine children, Smith always had a companion, and she gives several examples of how the Kennedy siblings maintained a powerful connection throughout their lives. As she fondly relates, “I can say without reservation that I do not remember a day in our childhood without laughter.” She lovingly shares stories of sailing escapades, swim lessons with her patient older sister Eunice, lively dinner table discussions and many other treasured moments. Enhanced by pictures depicting the Kennedy family throughout the years, this is a light, easy, enjoyable read.