BehaveBehave by Andromeda Romano-Lax

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I was sent this book from NetGalley for an honest review. Thank you.

As of yesterday, I had no feelings for this book. I was at 75% and still didn’t like the characters and felt no real plot. If my HBOGO not crashed, leaving me with nothing to read/listen to (yes, one more binge of Game of Throne in the works to be ready for the next season, soon), I would have tossed the book and moved on to another. I was so bored with this book. It was taking me forever to read it because I just couldn’t relate to the main character. But I needed something to listen to while I crocheted.

Somehow at 80% I engaged with the book and couldn’t stop reading. Looking back, I think it felt like Watson was dying and I was pleased to see his poor wife move on to being an actual person instead of being his wife, read that, less than an assistant. As happens in marriages, even in this day and age, we lose ourselves to the male, to the servitude of the house and children. And Mrs. Watson did just that.

Not that she was intriguing to begin with. I take that back. She did seem to have some spine before she met the already married professor, behaviourist, psychologist, John B. Watson. But then she stopped using her own brain and relied on his.

Okay, that was how it was back then. But she was a college woman and I had hoped for more. And maybe the real Rosalie Rayner had more gumption. But she disappeared into history and so our author, Andromeda Romano-Lax had to pick up the pieces of her documented life and try to make sense of it for us.

Still, when your breast is nearly busting because you need to feed your baby, you choose to serve only the husband’s research rather than relate and feed your baby? Rosalie merely became a clone of the man.

It is interesting how far the pendulum has swung from that brand of parenting to the La Leche League, nature mothering of the 1970s to 1980s when I was raising my children. How many children were ruined by the clinical mothering taught by Watson and Dr. Spock? But then there are those that wonder the same of the spoilage of generation X. Mothers in my generation were taught that spoiled was something left on the shelf too long.

This book did start a dialogue in my head of how generations of people have survived science, how generations of other animals survived us. So regardless of whether I loved the characters or plot it did get me thinking. Not a bad thing, right?

I think, had I known, that this was a loose attempt at a biography, I wouldn’t have wished for a deeper relationship with the main character but accept her for who she seems to be. It is in the author’s notes at the end, that I suddenly felt another feeling for this poor woman. Bravo, Ms. Romano-Lax for trying to get a handle on the forgotten wife, assistant.

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