If you were to ask my husband, my face while reading Darling Rose Gold was a lot like my face while watching “Tiger King” on Netflix – one of constant perplexity and disbelief at what I was reading. Then again, I think that was the point. Much like “Tiger King,” Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel delights in easing the voyeuristic need to see people who are mentally, educationally, and socio-economically unlike you to make you feel better. After all, most of us will never shoot a tiger, feed their dead spouse to a tiger, or poison their children for sympathy.
In many ways, Darling Rose Gold is not just a glimpse into the mind of someone suffering from Munchausen by Proxy syndrome; one could make the argument that it is also a commentary on the failure of our medical system to help those suffering from mental health issues. For her crimes of aggravated child abuse – literally poisoning her daughter so that she was constantly sick – Patty went to jail and obtained no psychiatric help. Similarly, after the sentencing, Rose Gold was left to her own devices because she was technically an adult. No one made sure she obtained therapy for the years of abuse her mother put her through, and the lack of help shows.
I am ashamed to admit that I could not get enough of this book. I read the entire thing in less than twelve hours, only stopping because I could not keep my eyes open anymore. I really wanted to know whether Rose Gold truly forgave her mother or had other plans for her decision to allow her mother to live with her again upon release. I took a sick delight in each protagonist thinking the other was stupid and insignificant.
I am not proud of this, but there was nothing about Darling Rose Gold that disappointed me. It was every bit as messed up as I hoped it would be, for which I got a cheap, horror-filled thrill at every crazy turn. It made me forget everything that is happening for real right now. Plus, it made me feel better about some of my more embarrassing parenting moments because, let’s face it, I am no Patty. Thank goodness.