• Alex Lopez

Darling Rose Gold

There is a sacredness in mother-daughter relationships where the bonds between them are a fragile, beautiful, thing to behold.

Most mothers watch their child's growth with the careful observation that one would reserve when watching the metamorphosis of a butterfly. They watch every stage with a form of wonder and enchantment that forms a catalyst for their life together. Throughout their child's life, they seem to cup their hands around their flight just enough to protect them from the world beyond their reach and allow them to continue growing for the years ahead.

Then, there are mothers who take their daughter's wings and pin them down with sharp metal edges.

Instead of seeing this struggle of flight and life, people like Patty Watts see these small flutterings as a reason to take another pin and - ever so slowly - drive it down through the offending wing. When all efforts of resistance are abandoned, only then do they smile and say, "Well that's a lot better."

These were my initial thoughts after I finished reading Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel at 5:30 in the morning. It was a journey that both fascinated and horrified me because of the realism I found in the dual narrative in Rose Gold's voice and her mother, Patty. From our news, we know the names of Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard and their fatal relationship and see the parallels with Wrobel's psychological thriller.

What made this particularly engrossing was the absolute submersion in Rose Gold and Patty's headspace. Wrobel relates every thought that flashes through the dark waters of their minds - no matter how disturbing - and shows how the characters believe the narratives that they themselves create to form a guise against society and, above all, each other. Initially, my heart felt heavy when I read about Rose Gold's past and chilled when I read the 'logic' of Patty's imaginings and how she wanted her daughter to forever be her prized pinned butterfly.

For almost the entirety of her life, Rose Gold was subject to her mother's torture and consciously made her ill so that Rose Gold remained under Patty's control. After discovering her mother's truth, with the help of her friend and neighbors, Rose Gold was able to speak out and reveal the horror's of Patty's treatment which caused her to be sent to prison for five years.

In a narrative sequence that spans throughout these five years, Wrobel is able to paint the portrait of twisted and fractured minds and shows that mothers and daughters have more in common than they will ever care to realize. Some things inevitably come to fruition while some actions are caused by the deliberate holes we make on a butterfly's wings. By marring them into some horrifying disfigurement, can we really be surprised that the flight is no longer one of light enchantment but one of horrifying reality?

About the Book

Mothers never forget. Daughters never forgive.

For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.

Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she's forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.

Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling...

And she's waited such a long time for her mother to come home.


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