Books: What Remains : A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and LoveWhy I am recommending this book:
This is a beautifully written and engaging book about life's extraordinary circumstances - good and painful, and Carole Radziwell's grace and courage are a lesson in living for anyone who wants to live extraordinarily.
"Orson Wells said to Gore Vidal once, in an interview about a movie he was writing, 'if you want a happy ending, it depends on where you stop your story'". Carole Radziwell begins her book with this quote and understands this all too well. Her book is such a story about love and loss and recovery.
Carole DiFalco lived and grew up in Suffern, New York, 40 odd miles from New York City, but it was a lifetime away in reality. She had a proper childhood and grew up in a close knit family; they all loved to cook and loved their grandmother, the center of the family. At the age of 19, Carole realized she needed to move on with her life and took a job at "ABC News". This job led her to many adventures in Cambodia, Tel Aviv, and Saigon. As she worked her way up the ladder to Assistant Producer, she felt more comfortable with herself and her life. She was sent to California to work on the Mendoza murder trials ,and there she met the love of her life, Anthony Radziwell. Anthony also worked for ABC, and they started a romance that built slowly over a couple of years. At last they realized they were in love and Anthony proposed.
Moving into the whirl of the Radziwell family was no small feat. This is a large family with close connections to everything and everybody. Carole's mother-in-law, Lee Radziwell, was the sister of Jackie Kennedy, and was once married to a Polish Prince. Anthony's closest and best friend was John Kennedy Jr., and his girlfriend and then wife, Carolyn, became Carole's closest friend. Carole and Carolyn felt a kinship, outsiders in this famous family, and slowly they began to find a place in the family. There are several references to the difficulty of living within the social whirl for both Carole and Carolyn. The center of Carole's universe, Anthony finds a large "lump" on his abdomen several months before they were married. This bump turns out to be a sarcoma, a cancer. There are many surgeries and over the five years of their marriage, much of it is spent in hospitals, clinics and/or gathering information about the new and next therapies. Carolyn Kennedy becomes the friend Carole Radziwell needs. She is there to offer comfort and solace and to bring a little life into the depressive life of those who have or care for someone with metastasic cancer. We see the love that John Jr and Carolyn have for each other.
Of course we all know the ending. The tragic airplane crash of Carolyn, her sister,Lauren, and John Kennedy, and then the death of Anthony two weeks later. The time of mourning and the slow recovery are explored. Carole Radziwell relays a little of the life of the Kennedy's, but not in a "gossipy" manner, but that of the emotional roller coaster that entails her life. Such an inspiring story, sure to hit the chord of anyone who has gone through the hard times in life. She gives us a first hand account of the loves and losses we all have in our life. She has a gift of a true writer and has shown us her deep insights.