Once Upon A Secret: My Hidden Affair with JFK by Mimi Alford


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A review copy was provided by Arrow in return for an honest review

I've never really understood the fascination women had with JFK. It must have been the attraction of power because I've never seen him as a good looking man. Not in the slightest!

Mimi is young and naive and takes a a place as an intern in the white house. Having lived a sheltered life up until this point Mimi is, naturally very excited.

After only 3 days in the white house Mimi finds herself face to face with man himself. He is friendly and relaxed and makes a good impression on her.  To her surprise she finds herself being invited on a tour of the residence. Alone. This tour included a visit to the bedrooms. I would not call the events that happened next an affair. What happened, in my opinion was nothing more than an abuse of power.

Yes the sex was consensual but I found the whole thing a little revolting. He thought nothing of belittling her in front of male friends and demonstrating the kind of "power" he held over her .  This was not a romance. It was almost like he was having sex with her just to prove he could. Like a male lion mating with all the female members of his pride.

Frankly I think JFK ruined her life. Even after his death their encounters continued to haunt her.  This secret destroyed her first marriage and led her not being able to find real happiness until much later in life. 

Even after finishing I am a little confused regarding the motivation for writing this book. She seemed to find solace in revealing her secret to her friends and family. It seemed like by writing this book she was trying to validate her actions. She says she hardly ever thinks of JFK now but I think the very existence of this book proves otherwise?

The one thing in the whole book that really irked me was how blasé she was towards his wife. She never seemed to think how any of this would affect her and their children. If she was guilty it certainly didn't come across in her writing. I think they at least deserved an apology.

This was certainly an interesting read and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in JFK's love life(s)!


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