Friday, May 11, 2012

Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill

My oldest daughter has always been crazy about Jackie Kennedy.  (Well, all things Kennedy for that matter.)  She begged me to buy this book, so I did.

I'm still kind of in limbo about what I thought of it.   

Clint Hill (aided by Lisa McCubbin) wrote his memories of being part of (and eventually the head of) Jackie Kennedy's Secret Service detail during her years as First Lady and for the first year after the assassination. 

He called her Mrs. Kennedy, but that didn't diminish the fact that he seemed totally infatuated with her.  He is always respectful when talking about the President, but seems jealous of the first head of Jackie's Secret Service detail until he takes over that position.Who knew there was such competition between members of the Secret Service detail?  Hill really wanted to be Mrs. Kennedy's numero uno.

I have no doubt that their relationship was professional; however, his descriptions of her reminded me (at times) of a high school boy admiring and longing for the popular girl.  I know Jackie Kennedy had faults.  I'm not sure Clint Hill knew that. Perhaps she was so alluring he chose to overlook them. Or maybe he was trying too hard not to anger Caroline Kennedy with this book.

Hill had a front row seat for an incredible part of our nation's history.  The one part of the book that almost moved me was his description of that day in Dallas.  I don't think he ever recovered from that day.

This whole book was quite matter of fact, almost standoffish.  I felt like part of the Secret Service myself.  I was standing back and watching something incredible that I was never part of.  The Kennedy saga is moving, but I wasn't very moved by this book. 

I learned a lot about our Secret Service people.  They are paid poorly, or they were in those days.  They never spend holidays with their families.  In fact, they spend little time with their families.  Deployments for the military last for a year or so.  The Secret Service "deployment" is more like four to eight years.

Is it any wonder that Hill's marriage ended?  Besides never being home with his wife and young sons, knowing that my husband was so besotted with such a well-known celebrity would probably have done me in, too.

Mainly, I closed the book feeling sorry for Mrs. Hill.

I wanted to like this book. It was OK, but I probably wouldn't pick it up again. 

(K borrowed my Nook to read it.  I will be interested to hear her opinion.)


At May 16, 2012 at 2:06 PM , Anonymous Katie @Can't Get There said...

Very fairly written, I thought. I'd recommend 11/22/63 for K - it was very well written, engaging, and a good mix of fiction and fact. Bit longish near the end, but well worth it!


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