Books in Review
by Adrienne Petterson 2005

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Symptoms of Withdrawal - A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption
by Christopher Kennedy Lawford
William Morrow
ISBN 0-06-073248-2
Published October 2005 - Hardcover - 480 pages - $25.95

I think I've had enough of the Kennedys for a while.  This latest read, by Christopher Kennedy Lawford (mother Patricia Kennedy, sister of Jack and Bobby Kennedy, who married British film star and Rat Packer, Peter Lawford) chronicles his sorry tale of his descent into a life of drugs.  He was born in Los Angeles and moved to the east coast when he was eight and where he became more acquainted with his famous family.  He weaves a rather interesting tale and offers yet another perspective on this out-of-the-ordinary and large family.  A priviledged life for a young boy and lots of travelling and meeting of famous people.  You'd think this would be enough, but it wasn't.  Perhaps being part of this wealthy and influential family had more downs than ups because by the age of 13 he was already experimenting with drugs.  At 18 he moved back to California to live with his father and to work in the film business but he was more driven to seek out the pleasures that were on offer.  The book is well written and quite sad, and he names names, a lot.  He dedicates this book to his children but I thought his cussing excessive (if you "want your children to know who I am") and unnecessary.  It brings the tone of the book down a notch.  I'm getting tired of the "haves" spewing forth their priviledged lives on paper about their descent into drugs and/or alcohol - some managing to survive!  Addiction, as we know, can happen to anyone, from anywhere and from any background, but give me a break - I don't feel sorry anymore for those with a need for greed.  With both his parents drinkers, the chances of Christopher getting caught up were high.  Knowledge (especially firsthand) is power, so walk away!  Thankfully he doesn't seem to shift much blame for his drug abuse.  Christopher repeats in this book, referring to something Frank Sinatra said, "Those who have been given everything always want more".  Never a truer word spoken I say.
Conclusion - Reads like an honest account.  Interesting.

Review copy not supplied by publisher - library copy reviewed.


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