A bestseller but not tell all has been added to the Kennedy collection of nouveau books. This time it is Mimi Alford’s turn to crank out a bestseller about an unzipped 35thMr. President.
Yet there are no steamy secrets here. In just under 200 pages the author shows up with a polished voice telling a credible story you can take to the bank. Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath is her book.
What makes her book compelling and unsatisfactory at the same time is that Mimi, despite telling of her affair with Jack Kennedy, does not spill the proverbial beans. There is little salacious detail of their love affair. She does recount how it happened in the first place with a simple trip to the White House to interview a fellow Miss Porter socialite and graduate ala Jackie Kennedy (they never met) and her press secretary. It was on this visit that she was invited to apply for a White House internship.
Mimi Beardsley came from a middle class family who sent her to the local Country Day school, Miss Porters, and then to Wheaton College. She went into the world with the proper pedigree along with tall, slim girlish looks that were conferred by her family. However, it was the pretty, perfect WASP Miss Mimi who got herself into the White House and Jack’s bedroom.
In the first few chapters Alford discloses how she hid her face from her coworkers. Not exactly out of shame or remorse, but because she did not want to raise their jealousy or call attention to herself because she had jumped ahead of the line!
On page 45 she writes: “This special access would hardly have endeared me to my office mates. It was the rare employee inside the White House who did not gauge her status by how much contact she had with the President — or even if the President knew her name…So I kept my head down and my mouth shut and went about my work as if nothing had happened.”