Behave | Soho Press | Soho Press is an independent book publisher located in New York City.

Behave

Andromeda Romano-Lax

ISBN: 9781616956530

Published: March, 2016

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Hardcover $26.95

Paperback $15.95

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Description

"The mother begins to destroy the child the moment it’s born,” wrote the founder of behaviorist psychology, John B. Watson, whose bestselling 1928 parenting guide was revered as the child-rearing bible. For their dangerous and “mawkish” impulses to kiss and hug their child, “most mothers should be indicted for psychological murd...

“The mother begins to destroy the child the moment it’s born,” wrote the founder of behaviorist psychology, John B. Watson, whose bestselling 1928 parenting guide was revered as the child-rearing bible. For their dangerous and “mawkish” impulses to kiss and hug their child, “most mothers should be indicted for psychological murder.”

Behave is the story of Rosalie Rayner, Watson’s ambitious young wife and the mother of two of his children.

In 1920, Rosalie Rayner was one of the first women to enter the new field of clinical psychology. Intelligent, beautiful, and unflappable, she won a coveted position assisting the charismatic celebrity psychologist John B. Watson. Together, Watson and Rayner conducted experiments on hundreds of babies and published ground- breaking research that changed how America parented its children. They also embarked on a scandalous affair that cost them both their jobs—and recast the sparkling young Rosalie Rayner, scientist and thinker, as Mrs. John Watson, wife and conflicted, maligned mother, just another “woman behind a great man.”

With Behave, Andromeda Romano-Lax offers a provocative fictional biography of Rosalie Rayner Watson, a woman whose work influenced generations of Americans. In turns moving and horrifying, Behave tells a story of science, progress, love, marriage, motherhood—and what all those things cost a passionate, promising young woman.

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“An April 2016 IndieNext Pick.”
“Romano-Lax is so skillful at drawing you into the world of the famous behaviorist John Watson and his wife, Rosalie, that you feel like you're watching a slow motion train wreck--horrified by the approaching disaster, but unable to look away. On every page, you're silently screaming at Rosalie, 'Don't open that door!' ”
–Laura Keys, A Capella Books, Atlanta, GA
“The story was fascinating and well-paced; the writing was incredible. The urgency at the intersection between desire and guilt; the struggle between the demands of motherhood and the lure of scholarship; the compulsion to follow societal (and behaviorist) demands warring with the truer instincts of motherhood, all beautifully rendered. Reading this book was like walking in a haze. It is like a combination between "Mad Men" and The Blind Assassin. ”
–Rosie Lee, Readers' Books, Napa, CA
“Rosalie Rayner Watson will alternately grab your heart and make you furious – sometimes in the same chapter. This imagined life of this early twentieth century scientist and her lover, the great psychologist John Watson is a great addition to your historical fiction shelf. ”
–Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
“When reading a compelling book, sometimes I race through it, but take my word for it: "Behave" is one to SAVOR. If you are a careful and inquisitive reader, take your time.You will learn a great deal about the behaviorist psychology movement during the 1920's. While reading about some rather bizarre practices on babies and children, you will enter the sexually volatile relationship between the husband and wife who pioneered this unusual theory, Dr. John Watson and Rosalie Rayner who becomes his wife shortly after graduating from Vassar. I am crazy for historical realism, and my spirits soared while reading it. Andromeda Romano-Lax has done a masterful job of creating a most provocative read. A CAVEAT: When a man marries his mistress, he creates a job opportunity.... ”
–Darby Collins, Books and Books, Coral Gables, FL
“A fabulous novel that brings Rosalie Rayner to life, allowing us to sympathize with someone caught in the whirlwind of her times, as well as John Watson, a man cursed, condemned to forever run from his own emotions. Ms. Romano-Lax’s novel commendably sticks close to the available facts. Behave invites us to explore a lifetime of questions about science, ethics, motherhood, sexual attraction, and love. ”
–Hall P. Beck, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Appalachian State University and author of Finding Little Albert
“A fascinating exploration of ethical and psychological unraveling. Behave carefully excavates the plight of one of science’s forgotten women to create a tale of ambition, love, and the fears that shape us all. With the skill and confidence of a master, Andromeda Romano-Lax crafts a deeply personal narrative of a complex woman who lived in history’s gaps. Quite simply, I tore through this book and so should you. ”
–Erika Swyler, author of The Book of Speculation
“Romano-Lax is singularly gifted: she creates full-fledged, engaging characters and writes compelling narrative ... Her descriptive passages take your breath away. ”
—Library Journal
“Of interest to anyone curious about Watson and the history of psychology. Andromeda Romano-Lax does well to place John B. Watson in the context of the conflict between eugenics and environmentalism, consciousness versus behaviorism, and the rise of advertising and consumer culture. She draws the reader in with details such as the nature of fear-based ad campaigns. She teaches behaviorism and does it well. ”
—Ben Harris, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, University of New Hampshire
“I loved Behave: a rich and nuanced glimpse of the woman (Rosalie Raynor) behind the man (John B. Watson) who founded behaviorism. The ethical issues presented are both shocking & thought-provoking, and the intimate struggles of a woman weighing her value, utility & satisfaction both within and outside the home certainly resonate today. Beautifully written and meticulously researched, this is a novel to be savored and shared. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to read it early. I can hardly wait to put it into the hands of customers. ”
—Tova Beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI
“This is an interesting and educational look at the beginnings of behaviorism and the unique relationship between the two people who pioneered it. Behave is thought-provoking and certainly promotes reflection on the tenets of child rearing. An enjoyable read! ”
—Stephanie Crowe, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL
“I very much enjoyed reading Romano-Lax's fictionalized account of Rosalie Rayner Watson's life. Romano-Lax offers an empathetic and insightful look into the heart of a complex and conflicted woman as she tries to forge new roles in society, academia, and business as a scholar, wife, scientist, and mother. I found the parallel of Rosalie's internal conflict between tradition and modernity with the fragmented social backdrop of the Roaring 20s to be particularly compelling. Many of the issues that Romano-Lax touches upon in Behave—feminism, research ethics, work-life balance, consumerism—will resonate deeply with modern readers. Fans of biography or history of science, as well as readers who enjoy a novel with strong historical context and deep moral conflict are certain to enjoy in Romano-Lax's newest novel. ”
—Jennifer Gromada, Labyrinth Books, Princeton, NJ
“With vivid description, Romano-Lax introduces Rosalie Rayner Watson, an intelligent, ambitious woman overshadowed throughout history by her husband, famous psychologist John B. Watson. Behave is engaging from the start and Rosalie is a fascinating at its center. Her life of passions, scandal, and regret will hold you riveted. ”
—Tarah Jennings, Mitzi’s Books, Rapid City, SD
“Romano-Lax is so skillful at drawing you into the world of the famous behaviorist John Watson and his wife, Rosalie, that you feel like you're watching a slow motion train wreck--horrified by the approaching disaster, but unable to look away. On every page, you're silently screaming at Rosalie, 'Don't open that door!' ”
—Laura Keys, A Capella Books, Atlanta, GA
“Rosalie Rayner Watson will alternately grab your heart and make you furious—sometimes in the same chapter. This imagined life of this early twentieth century scientist and her lover, the great psychologist John Watson is a great addition to your historical fiction shelf. ”
—Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
Behave is a novel based on the life of Rosalie Rayner who with John B. Watson conducted numerous experiments on babies in their efforts to popularize behaviorist psychology. Their scandalous relationship and methods of research will provide strong opportunities for discussion in book clubs.”
—Elizabeth Merritt, Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA
“Andromeda Romano­-Lax presents readers with a glimpse of the “woman behind the man.” This book proves Romano­-Lax’s talent for spot­-on character development and impeccable pacing. Readers may find they dislike John Watson intensely, but they will savor this story. Women’s book clubs must pick this up! ”
—Nancy Simpson-­Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA
Behave is a fascinating portrait of cold psychological breakthroughs made by scientists more human than they’d care to admit, even to themselves. Like Stoner, it is a beautiful tale of quietly violent emotions straining against tempered times. ”
—Thomas Wickersham, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA