Symptoms of Withdrawal [NOOK Book]

Overview

Born into enormous privilege as well as burdened by gut-wrenching family tragedy, Christopher Kennedy Lawford now shares his life story, offering a rare glimpse into the private worlds of the rich and famous of both Washington politics and the Hollywood elite. A triumphantly inspiring memoir, the first from a Kennedy family member since Rose Kennedy's 1974 autobiography, Lawford's Symptoms of Withdrawal tells the bittersweet truth about life inside America's greatest family ...

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Symptoms of Withdrawal

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Overview

Born into enormous privilege as well as burdened by gut-wrenching family tragedy, Christopher Kennedy Lawford now shares his life story, offering a rare glimpse into the private worlds of the rich and famous of both Washington politics and the Hollywood elite. A triumphantly inspiring memoir, the first from a Kennedy family member since Rose Kennedy's 1974 autobiography, Lawford's Symptoms of Withdrawal tells the bittersweet truth about life inside America's greatest family legacy.

As the firstborn child of famed Rat Pack actor Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy, sister to John F. Kennedy, Christopher Kennedy Lawford grew up with presidents and movie stars as close relatives and personal friends.

Lawford recalls Marilyn Monroe teaching him to dance the twist in his living room when he was still a toddler, being awakened late at night by his uncle Jack to hear him announce his candidacy for president, being perched atop a high-roller craps table in Las Vegas while Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack swapped jokes and threw dice, and other treasured memories of his youth as part of America's royal family.

In spite of this seemingly idyllic childhood, Lawford's early life was marked by the traumatic assassinations of his beloved uncles Jack and Bobby, and he soon succumbed to the burgeoning drug scene of the 1970s during his teen years. With compelling realism mixed with equal doses of self-deprecating wit, youthful bravado, and hard-earned humility, Symptoms of Withdrawal chronicles Lawford's deep and long descent into near-fatal drug and alcohol addiction, and his subsequent formidable path back to the sobriety he has preserved for the past twenty years.

Symptoms of Withdrawal is a poignantly honest portrayal of Lawford's life as a Kennedy, a journey overflowing with hilarious insider anecdotes, heartbreaking accounts of Lawford's addictions to narcoticsas well as to celebrity and, ultimately, the redemption he found by asserting his own independence.

In this groundbreakingly courageous and exceptionally well-written memoir, Lawford steps forward to rise above the buried pain that first led to his addiction, and today lives mindfully by his time-tested mantra: "We are only as sick as the secrets we keep." Symptoms of Withdrawal keeps no secrets and is a compelling testament to the power of truth.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Pity the poor shelver who has to decide where to put this book. Does it go with the wall full of Kennedyana, the tell-alls and critiques of the family America loves to hate and hates to love? Or does it go into the ever increasing "recovery" section of the memoir department, packed as it is with tales of debauchery, and finally, painful and hard-won sobriety? Because this offering, by the 50-year-old nephew of President Kennedy, son of the late actor Peter Lawford, and cousin of the late American prince, JFK Jr. (how's that for a legacy to live with?), is both of those things, it is hard to categorize, and harder to resist. There's plenty of dish here, even if it is dish of the gentle, almost old-fashioned variety. (Lawford tells of being taught to do the twist by Marilyn Monroe; of spying, as a 10-year-old, on a former First Lady taking a bath, of partying with Kennedys and Lennons and Jaggers.) But it is also a palpably painful and moving rendition of bad behavior with women and money and drugs, and 20 years of staying sober. If you've read any recovery lit, you already know the drill: the stories of lying and charming and messing up school, jobs and relationships. There's plenty of that, but in Lawford's case, the backdrop against which he misbehaved is in itself dramatic. He writes achingly of his relationship with his cousin David, RFK's son, with whom he regularly did drugs and who died in a Palm Beach hotel room in 1984. (Lawford broke with Kennedy family tradition and named his son for David.) When he arrives high at a family party, the photographic proof turns up in the newspaper-because it was a fundraiser for his uncle Teddy. If this were somebody with a less famous-for-carousing name, you might think he was just another self-dramatizing alcoholic; as it is, Lawford is clearly just recounting his life. Even so, he could come off as obnoxious-were it not for his frankness, humor and self-awareness. Lawford goes out of his way to own, as they say in recovery, his behavior, and while he acknowledges a family tendency, he blames no one but himself. He can also write knowingly and self-deprecatingly about his competitive relationships with his many cousins, his vanity as an actor (he has appeared in films including The Russia House and Mr. North, as well as many television programs but is, by his own admission, no Tom Cruise), and his tendency to refer to his many female conquests as "the most beautiful girl in the world." So where does this book belong? Does it matter? You don't have to care about Kennedys to find this a moving tale of self-discovery and redemption. Whatever else he may have been-son, nephew, cousin, etc.-Christopher Lawford shows himself here to be a writer of talent and grace. 32 pages of photos. (Oct.) Sara Nelson is the Editor-in-Chief of PW. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The son of English actor and "Rat Pack" member Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy (sister of John F. Kennedy), Lawford is a self-proclaimed "second-tier" or "second-string" Kennedy cousin. In this memoir, he presents an honest account of the difficulties he encountered growing up in America's version of a royal family. Despite his affluent and famous relatives, he experienced pressure and profound losses at an early age and at 12 embarked upon an almost 30-year addiction to alcohol and illegal drugs. Symptoms details how he stepped out of the Kennedy shadow and achieved sobriety and acceptance. Such a book could have easily exploited the Kennedy legacy, but Lawford's candor enables him to present a compelling life story. He does a fine job reading his work; his delivery is honest and conveys the gamut of his emotional journey. Recommended for public libraries.-Nicole A. Cooke, Montclair State Univ. Lib., NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061860454
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 142,399
  • File size: 671 KB

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

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(14)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    Symptoms of Withdrawal

    I recommend this book to anyone who needs it. Also its interesting to read about history and the Kennedy's.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    This book is worthwhile; despite all the advantages of personal

    This book is worthwhile; despite all the advantages of personal wealth and family connections, Lawford manages to waste much, misbehaves as a youth, and still achieves some success; he seems to realize some of his own callow shallowness, but his shortcomings are those any young man could fall prey to; it is just that others might suffer much more. Even though the Kennedys have suffered very public losses they seem to bounce back well. Lawford's father and mother provided him with a dysfunctional upbringing. The opening chapters are the best. When he just tells a family story the book reads well, when he tries to explain his recovery it reads less well. The book might have more depth if he suffered even more. He escapes too easily; hard time or a knife attack might have helped him and his story. His cousin RFK Jr.is depicted here too; the Kennedys endure some pressure and expectations and don't always measure up; the "character" RFK Jr. extols to Lawford seems not thoroughly present in either man's present life; these guys go from wife to wife to girlfriend with such ease; earning a living is never too difficult; attracting Hollywood actresses their forte. O well. Tough luck, sort of, but not really for them, it almost seems. Just keeping on keeping on.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2012

    Well done

    Honest self-appraisal. The charm and wit of both his famous father and uncle permeate this thoughtful bio.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2007

    symptoms of withdrawal

    this book was ok i didnt really like how it was writtin. Lawford was out of place with snapshots, and some what repititve with some sayings. It was entertaining when it came to his familys history. It seemed as though he was descripitve with his writting during the more boring memorys in his life compared to the exciting ones. I think the title of the book should have been Life as a Kennedy rather than Syptoms of Withdrawal.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2007

    Lawford book is not for me

    I'm sure that the Lawford book is very interesting, full of interesting stories, and jucy tidbits' however, THIS Lawford is not that much different from his sleezy father, Peter. I know that Peter was pretty much a 'pimp' for the Kennedys, and Marilyn was, just 'another piece of meat' for the Kennedy boys, thanx to Peter- that is why I will not spend my money on this book.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 14, 2012

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    Posted March 1, 2012

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    Posted August 15, 2011

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    Posted November 11, 2008

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    Posted February 28, 2011

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