Last Friday, Rosemary finally came! Beforehand, I had noticed her on Amazon’s best sellers’ list, researched her online, placed a hold, and researched her a little more. I couldn’t wait to read about JFK’s remarkable sister. Finally I was alerted Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson had arrived.
It was a quick read. As soon as I started reading Rosemary, I felt like I was being introduced to a new friend. Whenever I had to do something else, I closed the book, looked at the cover with Rosemary’s portrait, and promised I’d be back.
The book starts out with Larson dedicating the book to those with disabilities and their families. Larson narrates Rosemary’s story the way she sees it. It’s honest, heartbreaking, and hopeful.
I watched videos of the author on her book tour, and Larson is more frank with her opinions. However, in the book she gives the reader more lead way to decide if Rose and Joseph Kennedy Sr. did the right things for their daughter. Their concern for perfection and family seemed to be a constant conflict. The Kennedy family cares a lot about image, and they worked hard to include Rosemary while strategically positioning her in public or hiding her so no one would notice their gorgeous daughter’s learning disabilities and mood swings. At the same, Rosemary also wanted to please her parents—from adjusting to multiple schools to the fateful lobotomy.
I enjoyed reading about the love between Rosemary and her siblings—especially Eunice who was especially talented when it came to calming down Rosemary. Whenever Eunice appears, you feel safe.
I’ve always had reservations about the Kennedy family—and still do—but have a new respect and admiration for them. Learning about how Eunice Shriver founded the Special Olympicsis of course impressive. But I was happy to learn how much they personally cared and didn’t (and still don’t) do this charity work at a distance. The last part of Rosemary’s life, the Shriver family put a lot of effort into strengthening bonds with Rosemary. They made sure that Rosemary made frequent visits to their home. The visits could be challenging but also uplifting. The visits seemed to have inspired the Shriver children to be better people, and they would continue to be involved with the work their mother started.
I texted my mom right after I finished reading Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter. I highly recommended the book to her and recommend it to you. Rosemary is so compelling—so get to know her! Place a hold at the library. Read this book. It sounds cliché, but you won’t regret it.
Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter