Wednesday, October 25, 2017


WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

1. What are you currently reading? Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Lawson. Joe and Rose Kennedy's third child and first daughter was an American tragedy. Early on, her parents were aware that Rosie was "different." She was clumsy and a slow learner. Her parents tried everything from prayer to tutors to special schools. Nothing worked. In 1941, her father unilaterally decided on a drastic remedy and, at the age of 23, she suffered a botched lobotomy. The tragedy of Rosemary inspired Eunice Kennedy Shriver's tireless efforts on behalf of the learning disabled and The Special Olympics.
That's the basic outline of the story, and pretty much as far as Kennedy lore takes us. We know very little about Rosemary the person. What was she like as a girl, before the surgery? How was she different after the operation? What was Rosie's impact on John, Robert and Ted Kennedy (and, therefore, our country)? This book sensitively endeavors to answer those questions.

2. What did you recently finish reading? The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer.  Though it's written in a hip and cynical style, this is a fairy tale at heart. The Wife of a Producer suddenly, unexpectedly finds herself left behind. Over a summer she rebuilds her life with the help of good friends, a rent-free, luxury Malibu beach house, and a sexy stranger named Sam. And yes, she lives happily ever after.
This is entertaining Hollywood chicklit, nothing more. One of the more interesting things about it was unintentional. Written in 2007, it's already hopelessly dated. Much is made of our heroine's villainous husband's pretentious dependence on his cell phone. In 2017, when many households don't even have landlines anymore, America communicates on mobile. Also, when our heroine wants to know something about her well-heeled Malibu neighbors, she whispers questions to the guard in the gated community. Today she'd just log on and check Google.
3.  What will you read next? It will be time for a mystery.

I got a hug in the mail

I received the loveliest letter from Cousin Rose. Very thoughtful and heartfelt. Of course I'm "a nervous wreck" these days! I'm faced with losing my job! But now, Rose counsels, is a time for faith and positive thinking. She reminds me that God knows what's best, not us,* and shared this quote:

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."

That Joseph Campbell quote is at the beginning of Dan Brown's Origin, which she just picked up after receiving my letter about St. Louis. Coincidence? Maybe. But she thought it was an important quote to share with me, right now.

She believes this all might be a nice challenge for me, a way to shake me up and introduce me to things outside my comfort zone. She reminded me of all the ways her life was turned upside when her husband left her, of how her original plans for retirement had to be revised when her company reorganized. She knows I'll be blessed with right help at the right time.

This letter was Rose at her best. She has loved me forever and has always, always been there for me. She can be inflexible and judgemental. I think impatience with life is a result of her very painful divorce.

But she has been a generous constant in my life for as long as I can remember. Since my mother's death, Rosie is the one who has known and loved me the longest. Eleven years my senior, she looked out for me and was my lifeline when I was a disenfranchised, misunderstood teen. She seems willing to be my sherpa as I navigate the shoals of this life change.

Rose has always had my back. The older I get, the more I treasure that history.

*Something she realizes I believe, but must be reminded of!