Vanessa V. Friedman
February 07, 1997 AT 05:00 AM EST

Jackie by Josie

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Caroline Preston
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

Josie has a husband, a 3-year-old son, a batty mother (involved with an ex-con), and an unfinished dissertation about an unknown New England poetess. Jackie is Jackie Onassis, and when this novel opens, she has just died. Josie and Jackie become linked, at least metaphorically, when Josie agrees to do some research on a Jackie biography. When her husband, Peter, goes off to California to teach summer school, Josie is left to sift through files at the Kennedy Library. But absence from her husband does not make her heart grow fonder — merely more suspicious that Peter is having an affair with a colleague. Josie begins to question her marriage and the worth of her own academic motivations; indeed, her own worth in general. The complexity and mystery of relationships — Josie and Peter’s, her mother and the ex-con’s, Jackie and Jack’s — are the motor that keeps Jackie by Josie running, and they are powered by a sweet, subtle narrative. B+

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