Friday, May 13, 2016

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter

I read this book for my Library Book Club this  month.

From Goodreads:
Joe and Rose Kennedy’s strikingly beautiful daughter Rosemary attended exclusive schools, was presented as a debutante to the Queen of England, and traveled the world with her high-spirited sisters. And yet, Rosemary was intellectually disabled — a secret fiercely guarded by her powerful and glamorous family.  Major new sources — Rose Kennedy’s diaries and correspondence, school and doctors' letters, and exclusive family interviews — bring Rosemary alive as a girl adored but left far behind by her competitive siblings. Kate Larson reveals both the sensitive care Rose and Joe gave to Rosemary and then — as the family’s standing reached an apex — the often desperate and duplicitous arrangements the Kennedys made to keep her away from home as she became increasingly intractable in her early twenties. Finally, Larson illuminates Joe’s decision to have Rosemary lobotomized at age twenty-three, and the family's complicity in keeping the secret. 
Rosemary delivers a profoundly moving coda: JFK visited Rosemary for the first time while campaigning in the Midwest; she had been living isolated in a Wisconsin institution for nearly twenty years. Only then did the siblings understand what had happened to Rosemary and bring her home for loving family visits. It was a reckoning that inspired them to direct attention to the plight of the disabled, transforming the lives of millions.

From Me:
Very interesting read. 
Years ago, I read every book written about the Kennedy Family---I couldn't get enough.  They intrigue me. 
It's been over 25 years since I've read a book about the family, so when I found out this was a choice for this book club, I was excited to read it.
Would I recommend it? 
 Well... I liked it, but I don't know that learned any new information--but that's just me!  If the family intrigues you and you want to find out more about them,  I suggest you read this.
The Kennedy family, whether you love them or hate them, is fascinating.  


Tina said...

I've never read anything about the Kennedys except newspaper fodder. But they remain the US royal family. I like biographies too.

Susan Lindquist said...

I've known about this book for a while and have read a couple novels about this era of history when 'inconvenient' behaviors and learning disabilities or emotional upsets were grounds for long-term isolation in asylums. Just finished reading The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox about this type of experience ...

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