Paul Wolfe reimagines the extraordinary life and mysterious death of bohemian Georgetown socialite Mary Pinchot Meyer—secret lover of JFK, ex-wife of a CIA chief, adventurer, LSD explorer and early feminist living by her own rules.
Meyer’s diary entries seem more like those of a vainglorious, overachieving high school junior trying to retain the interest of the school’s self-absorbed jock ... [Meyer's] general ruefulness and wry observations feel thin; the book is less a diary of someone’s deepest thoughts, insecurities and secrets than a carefully curated Wikipedia entry ... Wolfe’s Meyer comes most alive when imagining her wild-child side — at one point she jumps naked into a pool at a party at Bobby Kennedy’s — and when she’s flinging zingers at the go-go ladies of the day ... As she devolves into a weird hybrid of Perle Mesta and Nancy Drew, her sense of self-importance billows like a mushroom cloud. 'Can a blonde go up against the whole world?' she wonders. The better question is: Why would we care?
This trippy, intriguing novel imagines what this long-rumored diary might contain ... Written in spare, foreboding entries, The Lost Diary of M takes a fresh look at a woman whose mysterious death will likely never be solved. Author Paul Wolfe takes great care with his subject, painting a nuanced, never sensationalized picture of a complex woman.
In Wolfe’s imagined version, Meyer chronicles her life as an independent, adventurous woman in a secretive company town while also illuminating how her affair with the president transcended the physical and transitioned into the political. Wolfe gives poignant and poetic voice to this artistic woman, a free spirit and early feminist equally embraced and reviled by the insider Georgetown milieu in which she moved with ease if not confidence. What could easily have been salacious fluff capitalizing on JFK’s sexual proclivities is, instead, a compassionate and intricate portrait of a woman’s psyche. By placing Meyer at the nexus of one of the twentieth century’s definitive eras, Wolfe’s inspired study of a cryptic woman is credible and haunting.