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The Men We Became: My Friendship with John F. Kennedy, Jr. [NOOK Book]

Overview


For over twenty years Robert Littell was John F. Kennedy Jr.'s closest confidant. Now, in a beautiful and moving memoir, Littell introduces us to the private John. A story of laughter and sorrow, joy and heartbreak, The Men We Became is an unforgettable memoir.

Rob Littell was a freshman at Brown when he met the young JFK, Jr. during orientation week. Although Littell came from a privileged background, it was worlds apart from the glamorous ...
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The Men We Became: My Friendship with John F. Kennedy, Jr.

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Overview


For over twenty years Robert Littell was John F. Kennedy Jr.'s closest confidant. Now, in a beautiful and moving memoir, Littell introduces us to the private John. A story of laughter and sorrow, joy and heartbreak, The Men We Became is an unforgettable memoir.

Rob Littell was a freshman at Brown when he met the young JFK, Jr. during orientation week. Although Littell came from a privileged background, it was worlds apart from the glamorous life of the son of the late President and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Eager to be accepted on his own terms, Kennedy admired Littell's irreverence toward his celebrity and they became close friends.

John opened up to Littell on a very personal level, revealing the complex and sometimes tense nature of his relationships with his sister and cousins, as well as his mother's extraordinary influence on John - and how they both worked to keep it from being overbearing. John's marriage had its ups and downs and Carolyn had made enemies of some of his friends, but she was in great shape mentally and physically and they were planning to have children.

Littell recounts wonderful dinners at Jacqueline Onassis's apartment where she surprised him with his favorite dinner of specially burned hamburgers and weekends at her retreat in Martha's Vineyard where she critiqued their touch football while lying on a chaise lounge, her face covered in cold cream and cucumber slices. As students, Littell and Kennedy bummed around Europe. They slept in Hyde Park, sampled the pleasures of Amsterdam, ran afoul of customs officers and almost got busted at the Ritz Hotel for smoking pot. They even shared apartments in New York City until Jackie summoned them to dinner one day and gently suggested it was time to grow up. The two went on to pursue their professional lives. John trained as a lawyer - and Littell speaks of his friend's anguish at repeatedly failing the bar - and then he founded his own political magazine, which seemed only fitting because Kennedy yearned to live up to the family name and accepted that politics would be his destiny. Later on, Littell was a part of JFK, Jr.'s secret wedding to Carolyn Bessette on Cumberland Island, Georgia, and three years later a pallbearer at his funeral.

From shared adventures, private moments and lasting memories, Robert Littell offers a unique look at John F. Kennedy Jr.'s life - one that has never been seen before.


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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
During his first week at Brown University, Bob Littell met John F. Kennedy Jr. What began as an orientation-week encounter blossomed into a friendship that ended only with JFK Jr.'s tragic death. As students, they bummed around Europe together; later, they shared apartments in New York, and Littell joined "John-John" in meals with his famous family. The Men We Became serves as a testament to that friendship and a refreshing corrective to tabloid tell-alls about the heir to Camelot. It's an affectionate portrait that avoids being hagiographic.
Deirdre Donahue
The Men We Became is a heartfelt memoir that seeks to honor his friend and defend his friend's wife. It conveys the lasting love that can exist between boys who grow into men together.
USA Today
Publishers Weekly
Of all of the banter recounted in this extended eulogy to his late friend, the most germane conversation comes when the author recalls his friend John F. Kennedy Jr. reading Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye, Ken O'Donnell and Mike Powers's memoir of the late president John F. Kennedy. The author writes, "[John] even suggested that I'd be writing about him one day." That quote almost serves as an ethical balm for the reader concerned that JFK Jr.'s life has been written about and exploited by so many. Though far from an autobiographical masterpiece, this book offers Kennedy voyeurs an exciting dose of nostalgia. Littell's account is adoring but not hagiographic. While most of the anecdotes involve the mundane stuff of male friendship, Littell acknowledges certain not-so-shocking facts distorted in the tabloids, such as John's seeking therapy after failing the bar exam for the second time, his occasional use of marijuana, his vanity and his marital difficulties. Littell's narrative is also a commentary on fame-and how fame affects all who are touched by it. Littell claims that John trusted him not because Littell worshiped his celebrity, but because he didn't: they became "closer each time [Robert] pushed [John's] public self away." In one telling episode, Littell plops himself down beside Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis after making a joke about John and his friends, and she gaily chides him, "I so love your irreverence." That irreverence is on full display in this sweet, heartfelt panegyric, which will undoubtedly be snapped up by readers of Laurence Leamer's Sons of Camelot. 35 b&w photos not seen by PW. First serial to Redbook. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Hagiographic and flatly written portrait of the author's 20-year friendship with JFK Jr. Littell and Kennedy met as classmates at Brown University. We learn that "John worked hard to be a 'regular guy.' . . . As easily as he moved about in the aristocratic world he'd grown up in, he was never intrigued by it." They enjoyed an easy friendship, the author tells us. "From the start, we were each other's best audience. We knew the other to be hilarious, brave, and brilliant. That's one of the key conditions for male bonding-deep, unconditional admiration." As that quote suggests, Littell is a traditional kind of guy, always ready to say the honorable thing about his pal. "He had an enthusiastic libido but almost always resisted the sexual opportunities that came his way." (Well, almost.) When Littell isn't ladling on the plaudits about "John's star power," or telling us his buddy was "always smooth," he rages from protective ("So much has been written about John and Carolyn and their marriage. And so much of it is wrong . . . they were two good people who loved each other") to downright banal ("Both of us valued our sleep, which precluded constant clubbing"). The author seems to think that he has to parry the gossipmongers' bilge, which most people don't anyway, by presenting a sanitized version of Kennedy-which no one will believe either. Affection shines through, but Littell never really gets to the nub of their friendship. "Ours was a bond forged in activity, though it was more than that too, and we enjoyed each others' company most when we were wholly engaged in something physical," he writes-meaning, apparently, that they didn't talk much. And when he comments on Kennedy's guiding theoryfor George magazine-"if you get people interested in politicians, you'd get them interested in politics. Time has proven him right, of course"-readers can only assume he's kidding. Even Kennedy devotees will be disappointed. (35 b&w photos, not seen)First printing of 200,000; first serial to Redbook. Agent: Denise Marcil
From the Publisher
"The Men We Became is a heartfelt memoir that seeks to honor his friend and defend his friend's wife. It conveys the lasting love that can exist between boys who grow into men together." —USA Today

"An exciting dose of nostalgia... sweet, heartfelt."—Publishers Weekly

"A must read!"—The Boston Herald

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466851856
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/13/2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 152,293
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author


Robert Littell graduated from Brown University in 1984 and worked as an investment advisor until the year 2000. He is currently writing and fundraising for Take the Fields, a private/public partnership that restores athletic facilities at New York City public schools.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2004

    The Real Deal

    This is a book by someone who really knew John Jr. as a very close friend. The book is not exploitive of that relationship, but gives a portrayal of John, and his mother Jackie Onassis and wife Carolyn, from a personal, and very human perspective. No glitz, no gloss, and no spin on these so, so famous people. No editorializing, speculation or conjecture as to what was happening or what John was thinking. Littel was there. It is straight up telling, with love and respect, and that sets this book completely apart from all others of the genre. When one looks at several of the unique candide pictures included in the text, one sees the genuine, happy smile that was John F Kennedy Jr. The reader will come closest to knowing that smile, and the human being behind the smile, from this book, especially when compared to any other book, movie or show about John or his family. The book is filled with little gems (and a few big ones), which the careful reader will fully appreciate. The middle of the book may prove to contain too much male bonding hi-jinks for many readers (especially for women), but the last third of the book cannot be put down and will bring tears to all readers' eyes. A brave and worthy contribution from a true friend. A very satisfying read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2004

    Great Book

    I read this book in 3 days. Well written, easy flow of words, one you don't want to put down. The book describes John as a regular guy. I got to see another side of John I knew existed, but never really read about.. Great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2004

    Fabulous Book

    I am a great lover of reading books about the Kennedy family. I've recently read 'The Other Man' by Michael Bergin who was Carolyn Bessette's ex-lover. That book pales in comparison to this book by Rob Littell. In the book by Michael Bergin, there were very few pictures of Michael and Carolyn who were supposedly together for years. In 'The Men We Became', there are many pictures of the author with JFK Jr. I think the most credible piece of information was the fact that Mr. Littell was one of the 40 people invited to JFK Jr's wedding on Cumberland Island in Georgia. This book, while painting a very positive picture of JFK JR., gives the reader many private glimpses of things that happened 'behind the scenes'. Mr. Littell enjoyed a 20 year friendship with John, starting on their first day at Brown University in 1979 and ending with John's death in 1999. The author gives us verbal tours of Jackie O's Manhattan apartment as well as Red Gate Farm - her Marthas Vineyard compound. I read this book in one night - I just couldn't put it down. I also didn't want it to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2004

    Friends Forever

    Having been a Kennedyphile for many years, I have read almost every book about the family. I have found this particular book to be one of the best on JFK Jr. Rob Littell wrote an excellent memoir of his friendship with John. Unlike Michael Bergin's 'The Other Man', which I found horrifying, Rob takes us along in his journey with John over the 20 years of friendship and love he shared with him. A great work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2004

    A CONVERSATIONAL READING

    For those with a case of Kennedy mania here's one more author promising to reveal hitherto unknown information - this time about John F. Kennedy, Jr. As read by the author, it is an engaging tribute to a friend. Not at all a polished voice performer, Littell delivers his work conversationally. This, to a great degree, makes the listening even more enjoyable. As the author recounts conversations he shared with JFK, Jr., the listener almost feels as if he/she had been a third party sharing these times. The pair met during orientation week at Brown University, and soon became friends. This was a friendship that was to span graduation and their professional lives. Littell took part in Kennedy's wedding to Carolyn Bessette and a too short three years later served as a pallbearer at his funeral. Among the confidences Kennedy shared with the author were remarks concerning his relationships with other family members, his now widely publicized marital problems, and his hopes for the future. Rather than exploitive, this listener found Littell's work to have come from the heart.

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