Jackie O: On the Couch
Author: Alma H. Bond
Publisher: Bancroft Press (2011)
Binding: Hardcover, 288 pages
Jackie O: On the Couch is the story of Jackie Kennedy Onassis as she might have written it.
This is not just another biography. For the first time, Jackie O: On the Couch highlights Jackie's life from her own perspective, as imagined by author Dr. Alma Bond, a psychoanalyst and long-time student of Jackie lore.
The facts are all historically correct, as are the ideas, the Washington intrigue and politics, and the examination of the role of women in society and in the White House. Jackie speaks of her need to record her story truthfully--to replace the hodgepodge of lies published during her lifetime. Speaking as an older woman, she ponders how her points of view have changed from those she held when she was young.
The book delves into her childhood and explores how and why Jackie became the person she was. It also explores the Kennedys, and how John F. Kennedy's background affected his marriage. Jackie's deep love for Jack, his early inattentiveness, their difficulties together, his outrageous womanizing, happy times at the White House, and the tragedy of his assassination-all are viewed through Jackie's eyes.
Jackie writes of her need for Aristotle Onassis, debunking the notion that she married him purely for his money, and traces the joyful early years of the marriage through to its dramatic collapse and Ari's difficult death.
A different Jackie emerges into the world of publishing. Her new persona allows her to establish her very best relationship with the stout and adoring Maurice Tempelsman, until non-Hodgkins lymphoma takes her life in 1994, at age 64.
Jackie O: On the Couch is a unique exploration of the life and loves of a great historical figure. Jackie Kennedy Onassis deeply prized her privacy and, as a result, she was both revered and mysterious.
Alma H. Bond, in her book Jackie O: On the Couch takes readers right into the mind and life of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. Dr. Bond practiced as a psychoanalyst for thirty-seven years, which may be why she was able to “speak as” Jackie O in this book. However, I believe that it is due to the amount of research that Dr. Bond accomplished in reading one hundred books about Jackie. Dr. Bond’s admiration of Jackie is evident and combining that with her knowledge of Jackie’s life, it has enabled her to share much insight about this famous, but private woman.
For those of us who have struggled in the history department, Jackie O is perfect. I learned so much by reading this book, even though it is a book of fiction, being based on so many facts certainly brings out a lot about the times during Jackie’s life. I’ve always enjoyed reading biographies, even way back in elementary school, but the fact that this book is written in first person, makes it so unique, and easy to read. I felt as if I was right there sharing conversations with Jackie.
As the reader, not being the expert about Jackie, I can’t distinguish between the fact and fiction. One author friend of mine shared the term “factition” with me, letting me know that all fiction is based on some facts. I didn’t feel it was my job to determine the facts in this book, but to enjoy the story, and get a great feel for all that Jackie O experienced throughout her life. She was an amazing woman, who faced many challenges, and Dr. Bond has done a superb job of telling her story. Anyone interested in Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis should be sure to add this book to his/her reading list.
Reviewed by: Joyce Gilmour (2011)