Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The Men We Became
Their dorm room was always a mess, especially Littell's closet, where he stuffed everything: clean clothes, dirty clothes, sports gear, balled-up sweat socks. One day, they began noticing a terrible smell. They tore up the room, searching for the source, but they couldn't figure out where it was coming from. It got so bad that their dorm mates would not come closer than six feet from their door and their girlfriends refused to set foot in the room.
Soon, the smell was permeating the whole floor.
Jackie stopped by unexpectedly one day, so John sent Littell down to entertain her while he changed to the pressed white shirt he always kept for her visits. She was waiting on the porch, and it was a very cold day, so Littell invited her inside.
I'll wait here," she said, "I know about the smell."
(They finally found the source: a full cup of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream. It had been there for months!)
Littell paints Carolyn Bessette as a kind, unbelievably beautiful woman who occasionally smoked pot and did lines of coke every now and then.
I know she was beautiful, and she was probably kind, but I feel much was left out. Like the extent of her drug habit and her "weeding out" of John's friends. She put them in categories: those she felt were his true friends and those she felt were there because of who he was. If they were in the latter group, they were excluded. (I couldn't help wondering if she might have been excluded, if someone else were doing the weeding out. Would she have married him if he had been a plumber, for instance?)
I like to think she was deeply in love with John, though, and married him because of the kind and compassionate human being he obviously was.
The book is unique and revealing, and very poignant, knowing at the beginning what the ending will be. But if you enjoy books about the Kennedys, you will not be disappointed.
All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley