Christian Lucidi

Looking at the book jacket for “Fairy Tale Interrupted,’’ the impulse to roll your eyes is strong. There’s John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife, Carolyn Bessette, strolling arm in arm down an empty New York street with their dog. But the author of this “memoir of life, love, and loss’’ wants you to know this isn’t another exploitative book about the Kennedys. “This is my fairy tale interrupted,’’ says RoseMarie Terenzio, who was Kennedy’s assistant, publicist, and confidante for the last five years of his life. “This is what happens when a working-class kid from the Bronx suddenly has access to this world and then it disappears.’’

Terenzio (inset left), who will read from the book Wednesday at Brookline Booksmith, said if she wanted to cash in on her relationship to John Jr., she would have written something long before now - such as after his death in 1999 when publishers and tabloids were offering millions for inside scoops. “Thirteen years later, I wasn’t sure if anyone even cared anymore.’’ (Oh, they care: Terenzio’s been on “The View,’’ “Good Morning America,’’ and CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight.’’)


Terenzio was not a “Kennedy person’’ growing up (her parents were Republicans) and was not in awe of John Jr. when they began working together at George magazine. “I wasn’t immune to how handsome he was, but I was obsessed with Howard Stern,’’ she says. “Howard was the living end for me.’’ She also was not afraid to say no to her boss. For instance, when Kennedy announced he wanted to interview Monica Lewinsky, Terenzio told him it was a bad idea. (He abandoned it.) She didn’t, however, object when he asked Madonna to pose as his mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, for the cover of George’s “20 Most Fascinating Women in Politics’’ issue. The singer ultimately declined, sending this note: “Dear Johnny Boy, Thanks for asking me to be your mother but I’m afraid I could never do her justice. My eyebrows aren’t thick enough for one. When you want me to portray Eva Braun or Pamela Harriman I might say yes! Hope you’re well, love Madonna.’’ (Drew Barrymore posed as Marilyn Monroe on the cover instead.)

Terenzio doesn’t dwell longer than necessary on Kennedy’s death - he and his wife and sister-in-law died when the plane he was piloting crashed off Martha’s Vineyard - but she was in his apartment that night and has a story to tell. “This is not a salacious tell-all,’’ says Terenzio. “It’s a working-girl story. You’re never going to be John F. Kennedy Jr., but you might be RoseMarie Terenzio.’’