1. What motivated Stella to become a nun?
  2. What was Rosemary’s relationship with her father like before her lobotomy?
  3. Which magazines and papers reported on Rosie and Kathleen’s appearance before the queen? What does this say about Rosie’s status pre-lobotomy? Why do you think she fell out of the eye of the press?
  4. Why was Rosie removed from the convent?
  5. Who brought lobotomies to the U.S.? How did he make them such a widespread practice? What social conditions were in place to make this possible?
  6. What are the statistics for sexual abuse of disabled persons? Have rates of sexual violence of disabled women improved since Rosemary’s time at Craig House?
  7. Who recommended St. Coletta to the Kennedys? What is his significance in Catholicism and the church?
  8. Do you think keeping Rosie at St. Coletta’s was ultimately beneficial?
  9. How do Aunt Zora and Uncle Nick relate to Rosemary? How did these stories affect your understanding of mental health?
  10. What were the effects of the Kennedys’ status and political ambitions on Rosemary and her treatment?
  11. How did Rosie react to seeing her mother for the first time in twenty years? Was it what you expected? How is it reflective of Rosie’s character/personality?
  12. What were some of Rosie’s favorite activities, objects, and songs? How do these reflect her personality?
  13. Catholicism remains central to Rosie’s three families and this story. Where do we see the benefits of such practice? Do the author’s opinions influence your own? In which ways did the Catholicism represented in these families frustrate you?
  14. Think about major political events surrounding JFK’s assassination. Do you think there was “more than just Oswald”? In what respects?
  15. How long were Rosie and Sister Paulus apart for? What do you think of Sister Paulus’ unquestioning obedience?
  16. What details of the homes described in the story resonated with you? Do you think they reflected the families inhabiting them?
  17. Where was Rosie when she was lost? How would the same event have happened today?
  18. Who were the two women to wear mink coats? In what way is mink significant to this story? In which instances would ‘fitting in’ be worth it?
  19. If you had a child like Rosie, what would you do?
  20. If this happened to another political family, do you think the results would have been the same?
  21. How do gender roles play out in this book? How are they hurtful? Are they reflective of gender norms and expectations today?
  22. What are some of the long term institutions set up by Rosie’s family?
  23. If Rosie hadn’t been lobotomized, how do you think treatment of and for disabled people would be today? Was her lobotomy worth it for all of the long term effects? Was this progression bound to happen eventually?
  24. Do you know any families with disabled relatives? What kind of strain does this put on the family? What are the benefits?
  25. Had you heard of Rosemary Kennedy before reading this book? Do you think her life is still being kept a secret of sorts?
  26. What sort of stigma is attached to different mental health problems and disabilities today?