Sunday, May 16, 2010

Too Close to the Sun

Too Close to the SunToo Close to the Sun by Curtis Roosevelt

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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TACParent said...

Did he write a continuation? I guess the theory is that it is only historic up until his grandfather's death. Still, though, sounds like it left you hanging.

Dymphna said...

Well, I did hear an interview that "the next book" would focus on Eleanor the way this one mainly did on FDR, so I'm hoping there will be a next book (or already is...he's 80 after all.)

Sweetums5 said...

Interesting review. It's just sad how famous people abandon their children in favor of their careers. I've seen this with the UK's Queen Elizabeth II as well. Family should come first, not country. No one can ever take the place of a mother. A mother would do better helping her country by raising her children to be wonderful human beings, or better yet, saints.

Dymphna said...

True. I didn't think of the parallel between the Roosevelts and the Royal family, but sadly, its true.

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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