Too Close to the Sun chronicles the early life of Curtis Roosevelt, oldest grandson of FDR. The book made me realize how much Eleanor's depression and anxiety was passed on to her daughter, Anna, the mother of the author. As a result, Curtis grew up confused and lonely, and, to a large extent, under-parented. Even fame, class, privilege and education do not make families immune to pain and dysfunction.
Both Eleanor and FDR, to an extent, emotionally abandoned their children because of their emotional depression(s) in the wake of his affair in the nineteen teens and his subsequent polio in 1921, as well as in favor of their careers in politics. Anna did the same to Curtis, divorcing his father and limiting their contact while largely ignoring him emotionally herself.
Perhaps ironically, Curtis feels more secure in the White House than in the many homes he and his sister shared with their father, their mother and their stepfather over the years.
The book ends with FDR's death and leaves the reader wondering how Curtis navigated young adulthood, especially in the wake of his admitted retreat into his "dream world" during childhood.
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