Kelly's Reviews > Darling Rose Gold

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
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really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2019, reviewed

Only loosely based on the Gypsy Rose Blanchard case (& with a much more satisfying ending!)

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for child abuse and suicide. This review contains vague spoilers.)

Most people don’t like holding on to anger. They feel it crushing and consuming them, so they let it go. They try to forget the ways they’ve been wronged.

But some of us cannot forget and will never forgive. We keep our axes sharp, ready to grind. We hold pleas for mercy between our teeth like jawbreakers.

They say a grudge is a heavy thing to carry.

Good thing we’re extra strong.


For most of her first eighteen years, Rose Gold Watts was in and out of the hospital, battling a plethora of health problems. Constantly nauseous and unable to eat, she was weak and thin - skeletal, even, weighing just seventy pounds at the age of eighteen. Since her stomach couldn't tolerate regular foods, Rose Gold got most of her nutrition from a feeding tube that the doctors put in at her mother Patty's request. Patty insisted on shaving Rose Gold's head, claiming that her hair would otherwise fall out in clumps, or grow in unevenly. Rose Gold had her own wig collection by the time she was a teenager, along with a wheelchair for those days when she was feeling too unsteady to get around on her own. She suffered from sleep apnea and had a mouth full of yellow, rotten teeth, thanks to the havoc all that bile wrought on her enamel.

Home schooled, Rose Gold had little contact with the outside world; that is, until she convinced Patty to get the internet - "to help with school work" - at the age of sixteen. It was then that she met Phil in a chat room; Phil, who would piece together Rose Gold's terrible symptoms and unconventional life experiences, and figure out what should have been plain to Rose Gold's doctors. Namely, that she wasn't sick at all, but was being poisoned and starved by Patty.

Though Darling Rose Gold is obviously inspired by a recent and rather infamous case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy - the murder of Dee Dee Blanchard by her nineteen-year-old daughter Gypsy Rose, and Gypsy Rose's online boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn - the story veers from IRL events in some pretty significant ways: Dee Dee was not tried for her crimes; Gypsy Rose's bio dad and his new wife are not total asshats; and the real Gypsy Rose, the one rotting away in jail (unjustly, imho), seems much saner and more well-adjusted than the non-murderous but still stone cold Rose Gold of fiction. Which is all fine and good, as long as you know that from jump street. Otherwise you might find yourself offended on the real Gypsy Rose's behalf - if only initially, before the story's twist becomes evident. I know I did.

Dammit, I'm trying my best not to give anything away, but it's exceedingly difficult to review this book without dropping some spoilers! Even if they're just of the maddeningly vague variety!

Darling Rose Gold is told in two narratives: past tense, in the weeks and years following "Poisonous Patty's" trial, from Rose Gold's perspective; and present day, five years later, when Patty is released from prison and is taken in by Rose Gold, in Patty's POV. It's evident pretty early on - from the time they pull into the driveway of Patty's childhood home; or rather, when she has such an extreme, visceral reaction to it - that Rose Gold has a few tricks up her sleeve. Even so, Wrobel manages to sustain the psychological tension and the "will she or won't she?"/"who's the real villain here?" suspense throughout the story, escalating things to delicious heights (depths?) with the denouement. This is a much more satisfying tale than its "ripped from the headlines" inspiration.

Rose Gold makes for a compelling protagonist, whether you're cringing in vicarious embarrassment for her teenage, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt just-sprung-from-a-bunker awkwardness, or rooting for her to get sweet, sweet revenge on her tormentor. Patty is appropriately frustrating, so much so that it's hard not to root for her demise; I would've liked a few more present-day chapters from her perspective, so we revel in her anguish just a bit longer. And Billy, what a freaking tool. I really hope he was roasted and then summarily cancelled by the masses, otherwise he got off a little too easy, with just a few months of panic and suffering.

Also: I hope Rose Gold is able to get those new teeth she always wanted. I have a serious hang up about teeth, and it's always the dental stuff that haunts me.

Read it if: you devoured The Act, but didn't want to see Gypsy Rose serve any time for what was clearly a case of self-defense.

http://www.easyvegan.info/2020/03/17/...
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Reading Progress

November 26, 2019 – Started Reading
November 27, 2019 – Shelved
November 27, 2019 – Shelved as: read-in-2019
November 30, 2019 – Finished Reading
December 1, 2019 – Shelved as: reviewed

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