One Special Summer by Jacqueline and Lee Bouvier
Dec 9, 2013 | by Becky Oeltjenbruns
A fun collection of sketches and personal notes, revealing the imagination of one of America’s most iconic ladies: Jackie O.
Do you ever discover something so great you wonder why you hadn’t found it earlier? For us, One Special Summer is the book we were born to see but didn’t know it! Written and illustrated by sisters Jacqueline and Lee Bouvier (perhaps you know them better as Jackie O and Lee Bouvier Radziwill), this sweet compilation is a whimsical re-telling of their trip to Europe in 1951. The colorful illustrations, candid travel snapshots, and honest writing style paints a portrait of two close, fun-loving sisters.
The text may be short (it was written as a thank you to their mother for letting them go on this adventure) but you’ll find yourself revisiting each page. It’s so fun to pour over the drawings and see how these two young ladies (Jackie at 22, Lee at 18) saw their world. Seeing images drawn in Jackie’s own hand gives us a bit of the goosebumps – how often do you get to peek into a style icon’s creative mind?
Full of humor, the sisters capture the giddy feeling of tasting independence for the first time, feeling out new social settings, and struggling to stay graceful during those awkward moments we all experience on the transition to womanhood. While the direct setting is dated, the messages are timeless: remember the joy and opportunity travel brings, be willing to see yourself in a new light, take time to write down your feelings, don’t be afraid to be eccentric, and make the most of your time with people you love.
Despite the slender frame of One Special Summer, there is a multitude of inspiration within its covers: pictures of gorgeous vintage fashion, observations about traveling in the 1950s (when ocean liners were the fab way to start a journey and cables were a popular way to stay in touch), and insights into the European artistic movements of the day.
As we shut the back cover, we considered our own trip to Europe. In many ways that experience cemented our confidence, encouraged us to be brave, and made us feel like we returned home with some amazing secret: there is a whole world out there and it’s fascinating. Looks like this is a secret that was just as great to discover in 1951 as it was in 2005!
For our readers:
What are some of your favorite travel memories?
Have you read this book? Tell us what you think!