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Monday, January 23, 2006

Carole Radziwill and Oprah Winfrey

Carole Radziwill, the author of What Remains -- is guest blogging at Powells.com this week and even she – she who was married to a son of a prince or a duke and was related to John Kennedy and Carolyn Bessette and writes about the death of all three – whimpers about the treatment she got on Oprah. Her blog entry is actually very funny. No pretentiousness here:

“Two things happened last September — one anticipated by millions of submissive book buyers, and one anticipated by me.

The first? Oprah Winfrey promised to endorse live writers again, after a three-year commitment to the dead ones. The second? Oprah invited me to be on her show! One morning, producers at Harpo called. "We loved your book," they said. "Oprah couldn't put it down," they said. "She thought it was beautiful, well-written, gracefully done," they said. Oh my God, my little inner voice squeaked. Oh my God, oh my God!

She's asking me, me, me and my book to be on her show! Suddenly my agent was returning my calls! My publisher was picking up the lunch tab!

I obsessed for 10 days on my outfit. I obsessed for 10 days on what I'd say. I borrowed sparkly earrings. I thought up smart things. I had imaginary conversations with Oprah in my apartment. "Well, in the end, it's just old-fashioned hard work," I said. "What writers inspire you?" Imaginary Oprah asked, and "Tell us about the themes and the metaphors you weave into the delicate tapestry that is your work." We laughed and hugged. Oh, the world was fine.
And then on September 22th, I was hustled through Harpo security into a cozy room with mangoes and green tea. They brushed my hair, they puffed my lips, they lifted my cheekbones, somehow, half an inch, and then threw me out. Onto the brand new set, the brand new couch, the Wizard of Oprah perched at one end. Then click, we're on.


"Blah, blah, blah John?" she asked me. "Blah, blah, John, blah," she said. "John, John, marriage, Kennedy, John," she exclaimed very seriously. "My memoir is about me, I thought to myself, and my Grandma Millie and my mother and my husband and Gigi my dog! It's about my career and traipsing in Cambodian jungles" "Blah, blah, blah, John, John, Kennedy, John," she replied.

During the commercial break, Oprah said, "Your legs are very shiny." "Thank you," I replied. Shiny? Shiny? What the hell does that mean? Does Oprah like shiny legs? Do shiny legs sell books? I couldn't think of another damn thing the whole interview. All that time I wasted self-obsessing when I should have been fabricating! "Well, your people put lotion on them," I mumbled limply.


Three days later the show aired, my story met up with (fleeting) infamy. Because Oprah picked my show to be the one she'd plug another writer. My show was the one she picked to breathlessly plug another book.

You see, I had the unique opportunity of being the author invited by Oprah to talk about my book, on the exact same show that she announced James Frey.

Me and my new book and my shiny legs were all whisked off the set.

Dammit! I thought, a million little ringing sounds in my ears. I could barely remember what I'd even written over the roar. I stumbled into the harsh glare of early light...what the hell just happened in there? I ran to check my Amazon rank.

It's just too easy. "

And Tom Zeller of the New York Times trolls the web and finds people who years ago doubted James Frey’s book.

6 comments:

Lynn said...

Carole, I am about halfway through your book, I think it is wonderfully written, I love how you have weaved your growing -up years and work at ABC within the story of your great loss. I admire you greatly for meshing into the "Kennedy" lifestyle yet keeping your own identity. Oprah missed a great opportunity to ask you some in-depth questions, she allowed her own fascination with all things JFK Jr. to overshadow her interview with YOU, a great author, in my opinion. I wouldn't dare read James Frey's book, just so you know. We all don't do EVERYHING Oprah wishes for us to do. Even though I admire her greatly, I do think she sometimes is too obsessed with celebrity, her own included. Anyway, congratulations on your book and I wish you all the best.

kari said...

that is so funny, carole, you hit the nail right on the head, oprah is soo kennedy obsessed.
I`ve read your book (bougt it from the brilliant Amazon.com), had to wait a couple of weeks for it, i live in Norway you see.
i am soo impressed by your honesty,the humanity of your situation is so transparent.
Oprah went on and on about you writing this book and "exposing" the kennedys , and how its only an interessting story because its a inside look to johns life...
but i agree with you totally, your story is an interessting one, and would be still if the names were different, but the big O has kennedy stars in her eyes, and she is bending over backwards to do what she thinks will please them. But anyway, carole`s blog shows her to have a wicked sens of humor,as well as being deliciously self deprecating , wich is great!!! , and i hope to see more of these sides to her in her first novel.
Good luck
writing is bloody hard work

Anonymous said...

Carole,
I LOVED YOUR BOOK, YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL WRITERS VOICE. I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT MY BOOK CLUB CHOSE THIS BOOK, AND I VAGUELY REMEMBERED WATCHING YOU ON OPRAH. SO I THOUGHT I'D SEE IF WE COULD GET A COPY OF THE SHOW AND WATCH AT OUR NEXT MEETING...AFTER READING YOUR BLOG, I WANT YOU TO KNOW I HAVE NO INTEREST IN WATCHING IT AGAIN...YOUR BOOK HAD SO MUCH MORE TO SHARE THAN JUST THE JFK JR PART. I AM GOING TO SHARE YOUR BLOG WITH THE GIRLS. I SINCERELY HOPE YOU ARE DOING WELL, AND THAT TIME HAS BEEN KIND TO YOU.
A FAN, AND SOMEONE WHO ADMIRES YOUR WONDERFUL WORK AND STORY.
EILEEN
MINNESOTA

Debbie said...

Dear Carole, I am ashamed to say I have just finished your book, ashamed because I did buy it back after the Oprah Interview that I didn't watch attentively, But nevertheless when I finally picked it up to read it, I could not put it down. It was just beautiful. The laughing and crying. The sickness part was too close to home. The friendship made me feel like a great friend and like I have great friends (Real Ones), It made me miss visiting NYC and made me look at my husband a little differently, (Seeing how fortunate we are) Thank you for that. Now when will you be writing or releasing your next book? We can't wait! Thank you so much again for sharing your very private and detailed life. Debbie in California

Author Wannabe said...

I happened upon this blog while searching for another book by Carole. I had no idea your stint on Oprah was a let down. When I saw you on Oprah, I immediately got the book and...there aren't enough adjectives to describe my reaction. It is now my favorite book because it is so incredibly well written (I don't even care for the Kennedy's!) In fact, it knocked "My Sister's Keeper" out of first place on my "unpublished" list of favorites. Before that, and forever, first place belonged to "To Kill a Mockingbird." Please write more. I think you are unbelievably gifted.

Alarie said...

Carole, please write more. We, as your readers, are waiting at the edge of our seats for your next publication in whatever form it takes. You have a gift to give to the world through your words and there is so much to cover.

Regarding Oprah's show, she had a great opportunity with you in those few minutes and didn't take it. She will (and I'm sure does) regret that. The light of Camelot can be blinding.