Monday, March 21, 2016
Behave/ Andromeda Romano-Lax/ 391 pages
Behave is Andromeda Romano-Lax's fictionalized biography of Rosalie Rayner partner and wife of behaviorist John Watson. Both participated in a controversial experiment conducted on infants. Their goal was to demonstrate how a baby can be conditioned to fear much like Pavlov's dog. Later they wrote the 'definitive' book of child rearing based on the flawed principles of the experiment. The book begins with Rosalie attending Vassar and ready to make her mark on the world. When Rosalie drops out of a special class in support of her friend, it's the first glimmer that maybe her decision making skills are flawed. She goes on to marry John Watson after a brief affair and eventually realizes that her two children are now the experiment. The book is interesting, but it is easy to see where things are going to go. It's a little bit of a let down to know you're reading about two people who effected the lives of many children through their book, but the story has been fictionalized. Overall it's a fluffy read of a deep topic.