Picks and Pans Review: Forever Young

updated 10/02/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/02/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

By William Sylvester Noonan with Robert Huber

Son of one of President Kennedy's Boston pals, Billy Noonan was one of J.F.K. Jr.'s lifelong friends. His frank but loyal memoir is an engrossing trip that covers the '70s and early '80s, when their crowd partied hard and John's life was full of promise.

The freshest bits involve J.F.K. Jr.'s marriage: Carolyn Bessette, Noonan claims, couldn't bear the constant scrutiny and did drugs that made her paranoid; she also worked to separate J.F.K. Jr. from pals after their '96 nuptials—to the point where he exploded, "She's so f---ing sneaky ... meddling and manipulating." By spring of '99, though, Kennedy reported that she had gotten clean, was in "intensive psychoanalysis" and taking antidepressants. In the week before he died, writes Noonan, J.F.K. Jr. hinted that he had made a momentous decision, possibly about politics. Now, however, not even his boon companion can say what he might have planned.

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