The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap took place a year after the Oscar Wilde scandal of homosexuality in the late 19th century. The town of Red River Pass in Nevada is the location. Mildred Dunlap and her cousin Edra are well to do members of the community. They are also reclusive and have many secrets behind closed doors. Unfortunately, this makes them the target of gossip and abuse. We have a group of ladies who are busy bees. Our Queen Bee is Josie who has had a difficult past. Her target is Mildred Dunlap.
The problem of Peer Abuse exists throughout this book. Mildred and Edra must hide their homosexual lifestyle to the community. The ladies have created a front using a recently widowed man named Charley. This gets the busy bees spreading gossip throughout the community. Josie crucifies anyone of a different race, sexual preference or religious persuasion. The sad part is many of the women follow her in her schemes. Their gossip unnerves people in the town. After Mildred started taking up with Charley, the rumors hurt her so bad that she was affected physically. Edra would hide from the world to avoid this sort of pain. Towards the end, we learn how Josie twists a situation to make it appear that her friend, Helene, was the instigator and not her. As a result of Josie’s scheming, Helene lost someone precious to her.
Folks, these are very real problems that exist with peer abusers on a regular basis. The Queen Bee will have a group or a “hive” around her. Usually, they are spreading lies or trying to invade into the lives of their targets. Scheming is not unusual with them. Boundaries are a problem as they do as they please. Their targets generally are affected by them in some way. It can be physically or emotionally. The sad thing is this happens in adult women a lot more than we want to realize. This book gave an excellent example of relational aggression. It showed how a Queen Bee with a lot of social power abuses those around her. Her busy bees feared her. People were affected physically and emotionally. The sad thing is this was in adult women. How can we as adults expect to solve this problem if we don’t check our own behavior first?
I give this book thumbs up and to understand this abuse in adult women, I recommend this book.