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Book 30 -Once Upon a Secret by Mimi Alford

There isn't a whole lot to this book - I mean, really, I think that people nowadays aren't all that worked up about extramarital affairs and Presidents post-Bill Clinton and we all knew that JFK had his mistresses so what was one more? And quite frankly, Mimi Alford's naiveté made her look more the fool than the President (although he did look cruel too - but again, we all knew that didn't we?). I found myself having to suspend my disbelief for some of it - really, Mimi, you (a virgin) let him have sex with you after four days of working in the White House? And then, when you went back to school, he called you on the communal pay phone all the time without fail and no one had any clue as to what is going on? Sure.

Initially, I think it's quite clear, that I didn't feel badly for Ms. Alford - I found her to be a willing participant in the affair that continued for 18 months and included weekend trips during the school year and being whisked around the country and to the Caribbean in the President's entourage. It also included being taken care of financially - she never paid for these trips - and it included being given two expensive hits (two that she told us about...). I did feel some sadness and empathy when she began to talk about the impact that this affair had on her marriae. There was overlap between her affair with JFK and her dating of the man that would become her husband. She was sleeping with JFK for some time where she was also in a fairly serious relations with her soon to be husband. And when she finally told her fiancee about what had happened, he was so upset that not only did he essentially sexually assault her (he had sex with her to lay claim to her), but he ordered her never to talk about it again to him or anyone else and proceeded to marry her, resulting in a 20 year joyless marriage. I found this to be the most tragic part of the story because it caused a tremendous strain on not only Mimi and her husband but on their children and on everything that went on in their life.

I think that this book served as a way for Mimi Alford to "purge" herself of her demons and the blackness that resulted from this affair. That's all it was - it wsn't necessarily well written and isn't steamy, graphic or a tell all in that sense. Not a must read, IMHO.


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