By Nina Burleigh Sue Corbett EMILY CHENOWETH LEE AITKEN and Joanne Kaufman
Updated October 02, 2006 12:00 PM
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By William Sylvester Noonan with Robert Huber

REVIEWED BY NINA BURLEIGH

MEMOIR

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.