Tuesday, June 2, 2009

One Special Summer

One Special Summer -- It took most of spring 1951 for Jacqueline Bouvier, age 22, and sister Lee, 18, to convince their mother to let them board the Queen Elizabeth for Europe. In her preface, Lee Bouvier Radziwill describes the scrapbook of the trip they made for their mother as "a period piece." In fact, it evokes any European grand tour undertaken by two pretty and smart young things—even those who don't have society connections or extended correspondences with famous art historians like Bernard Berenson. The two women gaily write out their adventures in longhand, embellished with artful and amusing illustrations and a snapshot here and there. A delicious sense of respectable naughtiness underlies the text. Next to a photo of Jacqueline being embraced too tightly by a distinguished gentleman, mischievous Lee writes: "they treat us just like their children and really seem interested in showing us their country." Next to a photo of Lee in shorts and Jacqueline in capris: "We never go out in big cities except in what we would wear to church in Newport on Sundays." Jacqueline's often elaborate and colorful illustrations show genuine talent and humor. Created in 1951, published originally in 1974, then unavailable for many years, the book is a fun rediscovery.

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