I hated this book. That is all you should really know, but let me go into the details. This “novel” details the life of JFK beginning with his Inauguration as President of the United States until his assassination. Mercurio calls it a novel in order to not do the due diligence type of research that a non fiction book of the same topic would require. The attempted focus is on JFK’s several extramarital affairs as well as his alleged sex-addiction perhaps exacerbated by multiple prescriptions of testosterone. I say attempted because Mercurio strayed all over the map. Of course he had to bring Marilyn Monroe into it, but Frank Sinatra is dragged along as well, in addition to elder sister Rosemarie’s labotamy and subsequent institutionalization. I could deal with the occasional straying away from the point because who wants to read about a serial adulterer endlessly, but when Mercurio dables in trying to analyze the civil rights movement as well as American sentiment of the time, he does a POOR poor job. An except if you will indulge me:
A sore festers in America, and its name is race. Our economy was built on the blood and bones of slave labor, and for a civilized republic we were rather late in dispensing with the practice, yet emancipation led not to universal liberty but to an economic and social apartheid that our fellow Western democracies struggle to comprehend, through which every single pronouncement on the value of liberty around the globe is undermined, causing many among the dark-skinned peoples of the world to regard the United States as a nation of hypocrites, the political loss being a loss of influence among those nations most susceptible to anti-American ideology.
Eyeroll. Clearly, someone should brush up on his History, Economics, and Political Science because very few of those statements would be classified as a fact… but I guess it is fiction. But it turns into a convenient fiction, again, the type where not a lot of sources are required.
I also have problems with the voice of the book. Is it an observer? Is it the American public spirit? Is it an omniscient fly on the wall? It isn’t clear. Mercurio seems quite intelligent when it comes to the medical portions of the book, while speaking about JFK’s maladies and prescriptions, and after reading the book I checked the back jacket (I never like to learn about the author before reading a book if I can help it) and learned he trained as a Dr. I feel if he would have written a book focusing on JFK’s medical condition it might have been a better read.