Monday, October 19, 2020

Audio Book Review: The House of Kennedy by James Patterson and Cynthia Fagen

Genre: Audio Book/Biography
Pub. Date: April 13, 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Co.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Goodreads says, "The Kennedys have always been a family of charismatic adventurers, raised to take risks and excel, living by the dual family mottos: “To whom much is given, much is expected” and “Win at all costs.” And they do–but at a price.  Across decades and generations, the Kennedys have occupied a unique place in the American imagination: charmed, cursed, at once familiar and unknowable. The House of Kennedy is a revealing, fascinating account of America’s most storied family, as told by America’s most trusted storyteller."  
The House of Kennedy starts with Joseph Kennedy's father, Patrick Kennedy.  It follows his success story as an Irish immigrant to a successful businessman. Enter Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, raised in a political family and an interesting person in her own right. Despite the fact that both families didn't want these two to marry, they did and quickly started a family, and a legacy, of their own.  The House of Kennedy follows the oldest Kennedy siblings paying extra attention to, Joseph Kennedy Jr, and then of course future president John F. Kennedy, as well as other notable siblings, such as Kick, Bobby, Ted, and we can't forget Jackie, too. Each section of the audio book examines a different family member and while things aren't always in chronological order, it is all interrelated.  The House of Kennedy also continues to examine the Kennedy clan by looking at notable cousins and the next generation, such as David Kennedy and Michael Skakel, and of course John F. Kennedy Jr.  What makes each vignette interesting is the fact that many of the Kennedy family members had some really crappy luck.  Readers can't help but wonder if there truly is a Kennedy family curse and while Patterson and Fagen touch on this, it isn't forced down readers' throats.  The House of Kennedy by James Patterson and Cynthia Fagen is a deliciously addicting audio book filled with Kennedy family drama and heartbreak.

I am a huge Kennedy fan, so revisiting Joseph Jr, Jack, Bobby, Jackie, and Ted's stories were entertaining.  I also really enjoyed Kick's section, even if it was extremely heartbreaking. What I admire so much about their stories is the fact that despite all the hardships they faced, they were still determined to keep going. I found it especially inspirational given today's political climate. So, if you are a Kennedy fan, this section might not reveal too much new information; however, how Patterson and Fagen presents it is what kept me captivated.

While I am very familiar with the immediate Kennedy family, it was interesting to learn more about the cousins and the next generation of Kennedys in The House of Kennedy.  I really wasn't aware of the court case involving Michael Skakel, which was extremely eye-opening.  Of course, the details surrounding John F. Kennedy Jr's infamous final plane ride were very sad. Patterson and Fagen also included a bit about Saiorse Kennedy Hill and her untimely death.  It's truly upsetting when you think about all that the Kennedy family have been through; it's almost unbelievable at times. 

If you are a history fan or a Kennedy fan, I urge you to check out The House of Kennedy audio book. It read like a soap opera, because truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, right? There are so many unbelievable stories and tidbits that go along with the Kennedy family and even though I knew a lot of them, it still was still shocking to see it all laid out in front of me.  So, if you like your biographies with a strong side of drama, definitely give The House of Kennedy a try.

Are you a Kennedy fan? Do you like to listen to non-fiction audio books? Let me know in the comments below. 


  1. I'm a huge Kennedy fan - I'll have to check this one out!

  2. This sounds so interesting! Just downloaded it from Audible...


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