The Importance of Being Kennedy
by Laurie Graham


Harper Collins, 2008. ISBN 978-0-061-17352-3.
Reviewed by Jennifer Melville
Posted on 07/15/2008

Fiction: Historical

The Importance of Being Kennedy is the fictional account of Nora Brennan, an Irish nanny who serves the Kennedy family by raising all nine of the Kennedy children from birth. It follows the development of the children, the high flying beliefs of Joe Kennedy and his dreams for his boys, and the mark each Kennedy left on history. It is an interesting read that sheds light on America's royal family.

I thought it was a little strange to read a fictional diary about such a famous family and wondered how accurate it was to what life was truly like for a Kennedy child. It would be interesting to read a reaction by one of the family members. For a work of fiction, the characters are extremely deep and well developed. I found them easy to relate to and very believable. Rose Kennedy as a character in this book is one of the most complicated literary characters I have ever encountered. She simultaneously believes herself to be an involved, caring mother while leaving her children for weeks at a time to go traveling and shopping for pleasure.

The Kennedys' hey-day was long before I was born, so it was interesting to learn about the legends. A lot of my questions were answered, including why this family was significant and how they rose to power. "The Importance of Being Kennedy" feels like you're meeting the actual people. I found myself becoming attached to the Kennedy children and even looking online for more information about the real individuals, especially the "forgotten" daughter, Rose Kennedy. Whether you like history or just want to enjoy a good novel, Laurie Graham will not disappoint you. Her book is a literary gem that shouldn't be missed.


Laurie Graham was born in England shortly after World War II. She left college to get married and have children. She began writing in the 1980s and is the author of nine novels, including The Future Homemakers of America and Gone with the Windsors. She married a second time in 1998 and moved to Venice, Italy.

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