Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Missing Kennedy

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Title: The Missing Kennedy    

Publisher: Bancroft Press, 2016

Pages: 215

Genre: nonfiction, memoir

Obtained: received copy from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary: This is the story of two families effected by disabilities- the author's family and the Kennedys. The author herself was afflicted with dizziness and episodes of blindness (misdiagnosed as epilepsy) at one point and had relatives who suffered from mental illness.  Rosemary Kennedy had what is now thought to have been a learning disability.  She also had emotional outbursts, which at the time was thought to be a mental illness.  She had a lobotomy to help with these issues, but it just resulted in more problems.  Rosemary Kennedy's caretaker for many years was the author's aunt, Sister Paulus. The author weaves these separate stories together to demonstrate that we all have family secrets and to show just how important compassion and empathy is to us all. 

Thoughts:  This book is not just a biography of Rosemary Kennedy which I believe most people would assume by the title The Missing Kennedy and the beautiful picture of Rosemary Kennedy on the cover.  Underneath this title, in very small print, are the words "and the Secret Bonds of Four Women".  Even that seems to be misleading.  To me, this book was about disabilities and how they affected two families- the author's family and the Kennedy's.  Although a big part of the book was the story of Rosemary Kennedy, it was just a part.  Another equally big part was the story of Sister Paulus, Rosemary's caretaker for many years.  Then there were the stories of members of Rosemary's family and members of the author's family- all interesting stories.  The cover just did not seem to grasp what was inside.
    This was a very open and honest book.  It was not a book about gossip and blame.  The author wrote this book after doing research and interviews, and obtaining information from her aunt's personal papers.  She also incorporated her memories into the book adding an intimate feel which I believe is what made this book really good.  
     I read this book in three sittings, but could have done it in one.  It was an easy read- not boring at all.  There were many people discussed in the stories and it could get a little confusing who was who, but there were family trees in the back that I referred to.  Although the author sometimes gives opinions, they were ones I wanted to hear and the author makes it clear they are her thoughts, not facts.  The author's writing was easy to follow.  She did not ramble, but it was as if she was sitting there telling the reader the story rather than writing it.  She did not dramatize anything, just stated how things were.  The book was written in a positive way, pointing out the good that was there even when there was tragedy and sadness.  There were also many pictures included which really added to the experience of reading this book.  Also, in the back of the book are listed the programs the Kennedy family created and the accomplishments John and Ted Kennedy achieved through their political careers  that helped (and are still helping) people with disabilities.
     If you are looking for an in depth biography about Rosemary Kennedy, I don't think you'd be very pleased with this book.  It gives a picture of what life was like for Rosemary after her lobotomy and a brief glimpse of what her life was like before the operation- that is all.  If you are interested in the Kennedy family or just want to read a good, honest nonfiction story about people and families, you will probably enjoy this book as much as I did.  


Company: Tea Forte

Tea: Chocolate Rose

Obtained: gift

     I received the Noir Single Steeps Sampler as a Christmas gift.  The samples came in a beautiful box and contained three packages of five different teas.  Each package is premeasured for twelve ounces of water- just enough for a cup of tea.  The packages are easy to open without scissors and would be great for those who bring loose leaf tea with them anywhere.
     The first tea I tried was the Chocolate Rose, a black tea. The leaves were long and dark brown.  There were small light brown leaves mixed in along with thin bark-like pieces.  The scent of the leaves was of sweet chocolate with a hint of rose.  I added twelve ounces of water that had been boiled to the leaves and let this brew for three minutes.  The liquid was a reddish brown and smelled of warm chocolate with a hint of rose.  The scent was not strong.  The taste was of a sweet, yet full-bodied tea.  Rose and black tea were the prominent flavors with a hint of warm, sweet chocolate in the background.  This would make a nice dessert tea.

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