Sunday, October 11, 2015

Rosemary redux

I suppose the tragedy of Rosemary Kennedy is still haunting me. I couldn't resist listening to her biographer, Kate Clifford Larson, interviewed  on a New York Times podcast.

Until this book, Rosemary had only been a peripheral character in every other Kennedy biography. In this interview, Larson relates many details omitted from the book review I blogged about.

For instance...

She describes various "treatments" that the cognitively-impaired Rosemary endured such as weekly hormone injections and strict weight reduction diets to remedy her "laziness". Of course, nothing was as cruel as the botched lobotomy which left her severely disabled. Larson says that, notwithstanding its dire consequences, Joe subsequently told the nuns caring for Rosemary that "her institutionalization was the answer to his and Rose's prayers."

Most of Rosemary's siblings did not see her again until the late sixties - over twenty years later - because that was their parents' express wish.

There are more disturbing revelations if you feel you can handle them, here.

These two photos - one pre-lobotomy, above, the second post - probably convey the tragedy as vividly as any words could.

Rosemary Kennedy with sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver (right) at
a Kennedy family reunion

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