Main site homepage
Showing 2 of 2 Results

The Book Blog

profile-icon Dr. Brittnee Fisher

If you've been reading my blog posts, you'll know that my reading interests are varied. What I read is often influenced by trends and what my friends are reading. The "dark romance" book Haunting Adeline and its follow-up, Hunting Adeline, have been popping up all over the place recently. I’ve seen about a million TikToks about it. I heard about it at the hair salon. My Kindle has recommended it often. So, I broke down and got a copy. I’m not opposed to reading something for the sake of a conversation or interesting blog content, so here we are.

I'm not the kind to discount the fun to be had by reading a spicy romance. In fact, sometimes, when I need a break from my tired brain, that's exactly what I'll gravitate to. Something silly, distracting, dare I say…dirty! I think there is value in using reading to relieve stress and the heaviness of the world around us. Often, a romance book of any kind can do that for me, and I'm grateful. And I hoped with all the buzz around the Cat and Mouse Duet, Adeline and Zade would give me a much-needed break from reality.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. WAY WRONG. I found the whole thing upsetting, and here's why.

I will start with a minor yet irritating thing about the writing: the author's use of "these ones" and "anyways" throughout. Like, grow up. Get an editor. (This was personal. I'm working on getting over it.)

And I won’t harp on the QAnon themes running rampant throughout the story. Whether H.D. Carlton finds truth to the adrenochrome theories or not, she’s obviously found a sick way to make some cash. I guess taking advantage of misinformation and possibly inhibiting real progress in ending human trafficking isn't important when money can be made. Go off, I guess.

The biggest issue with the book is that the story glorifies sexual assault. In fact, the whole “romance” boils down to Zade stalking Adeline and then forcing her into a sexual relationship using coercion and violence. The lack of consent is absolutely appalling. Then, when you dive deeper into the storyline, it just gets gross. For example, Zade’s whole deal is that he "dismantles human trafficking rings," yet he stalks and rapes someone. He is wholeheartedly against violence against women and children in his "work life." Still, he uses violence against a woman to force her into a "relationship ."The relationship is more like Stockholm Syndrome.

I get that this is a work of fiction, and when it comes to reading preferences- to each his or her own. I'm not judging if you loved it. There were some glimmers of enjoyment, i.e., the murder mystery side story. And I’m even such a glutton for punishment that I intend to read the second book just to see this through. Maybe there will be a storyline where Zade gets therapy? Adeline comes to her senses? Not holding my breath.

I hope readers of this book know that the relationship between Adeline and Zade is not healthy or romantic. Remember, this is a work of fiction, and these things shouldn't happen to anyone. To learn more, please explore the Library’s content on power-based violence, where you can find help through local organizations.

As for me, I’ll wrap up my associations with this story soon and move on to something else. I have my sights set on Ice Planet Barbarians. Let’s hope for romance redemption!

No Subjects
profile-icon Dr. Brittnee Fisher

We all know that social media gets a bad rap. Especially the recently banned app whose name I shall not speak. I get it. There's a lot to be concerned about. However, the amount of interesting historical knowledge I have encountered on social media is staggering. In fact, I can only keep up with some of the historical rabbit holes that I'd love to fall down- if only I had more free time!

One story that piqued my interest recently that I couldn't let go of was the tragic story of Rosemary Kennedy. If you are unfamiliar with Rosemary, don't feel bad because that's exactly what her family, primarily her father, wanted. Rosemary was a problematic young woman, presenting many problems for a family looking to expand their wealth and political power. I'll cut right to the chase. To control Rosemary's undesirable behavior, her father had Rosemary lobotomized at the ripe young age of 23 years old. Whether or not Rose Kennedy, Rosemary's mother, knew of the plan to incapacitate his daughter seems "historically inconclusive."

A lobotomy is a neurological procedure now banned in the United States. This quote from a BBC News article sums up the procedure succinctly: "putting in a brain needle and stirring the works." Rosemary received the version of the surgery that did just that. Holes were drilled into her skull, and a spatula-type tool was rotated. The most jarring part is that she was awake for the entire procedure. Horrifying.

If you are like me, knowing more about lobotomy made me frantic to understand why a father would subject his young, radiant daughter to a cruel procedure. And how a family in the limelight could hide the details for many years afterward. I immediately located two books about Rosemary Kennedy to understand her tragic story. I discovered that her story is more complicated than I could have imagined. And like most powerful families, the Kennedys are eager to cover up their dark family secrets.

The first book I discovered about Rosemary was The Missing Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women. This is a book about Rosemary that I would NOT recommend. I have several good reasons for this. First, the author is a self-proclaimed Kennedy family friend, so her version of events is skewed, and the book reads like a Kennedy PR piece. Next, this person did not meet Rosemary until after the "procedure" and was a child at that. And third, the book lacks substance.

This book is written by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff (Liz), the niece of Sister Paulus, one of Rosemary's caretakers for over thirty years. What the book does for you is outline the basics of Rosemary's story. And by basics, I mean the very basics. This extremely short book not only includes a barebones history of Rosemary Kennedy but also veers into both Sister Paulus and Liz's family histories. Honestly, I understood Rosemary's story better from reading the Wikipedia article about her. Another issue with this book is that the author rationalizes Joe Kennedy's decision to have his daughter lobotomized. Rosemary's behavior before her surgery is described vaguely at best. The decision to damage her brain is legitimized as "appropriate for the time" and "supported by doctors." There is a firm focus on the excellent care Rosemary received after her procedure as if that makes things better. This book is centered on a Catholic ideology used to further explain the inaction of Rosemary’s mother and siblings as she was hidden away from her family under the direction of her father for over twenty years.

After finishing The Missing Kennedy, I knew I needed to find a better account of Rosemary's life. I was left feeling anger and sadness for a woman whose tragic life story was cut to 211 pages of excuses for her family’s cruel behavior. In my search for answers, I discovered the book Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter. This book seemed more promising, written by Kate Clifford Larson, a critically acclaimed biographer and not a Kennedy family friend.

I'm happy to report that this book was excellent and provided an in-depth look at Rosemary and her family. The author provided an extensive family history, looking back to Rosemary's grandparents, and then followed her story well after Rosemary's death. The use of historical records, family letters, and personal interviews made this account of Rosemary's life rich and detailed. I also appreciated the author's lack of personal bias regarding the family- she stuck to the documented facts.

I implore you to read Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter. Rosemary's story highlights many issues ranging from women's rights to bodily autonomy to disability accommodations. It may seem like Rosemary's life is a tale from long ago, but note that she was born in 1918 and lived until 2005. And the last recorded lobotomy was performed in the United States in 1967, only 56 years ago. So, her saga isn’t as far removed from us as you might think. It’s a sad story but one worth knowing.


Cover ArtRosemary by Kate Clifford Larson
Call Number: St. Augustine Circulation ; RC464 .K38 L37 2015
ISBN: 9780547250250
Publication Date: 2015-10-06
They were the most prominent American family of the twentieth century. The daughter they secreted away made all the difference. 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.    Rosemarydelivers 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.
No Subjects