Monday, May 3, 2010

Loving Frank - Nancy Horan

Rating: 8/10

When I began reading Loving Frank, I knew very little about either Frank Lloyd Wright or his affair with Mamah Cheney. But as I closed this book, I knew I wouldn't be able to forget the both of them. And that's exactly how I'd describe this book by Nancy Horan: unforgettable. A fictional account of a real love affair that lead to immense public scrutiny and shaming, this book is one you might love or hate, but you just can't ignore what it says.

At first, I found it hard to like either Frank or Mamah. But as I read on, I realized the beauty of these complex characters and their tragic circumstances. Mamah Cheney is such an intriguing character, whose passion for women's rights I admired whole-heartedly. I thought she was selfish and she made a couple of decisions I didn't really understand, but I was able to appreciate the dilemma that she was in and the taunts she had to endure at that time. She's a heroine who will stay with you long after you've finished reading the book. Not because she was a perfect character, but because she went through some harrowing times and fought her way through them all.

Horan's writing is remarkable and very quotable. Though drawn-out and sometimes, a little too long, the book is worth reading simply because the issues it deals with are absolutely important. The love story between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah didn't really interest me, nor did the descriptions of his buildings and love for architecture. But the feminist angle of the story fascinated me tremendously and that was my favourite part of the book.

If I, with very little knowledge of Frank Lloyd Wright, enjoyed this book, I’m sure those who know a lot about him will love reading it. The book reaches out to you beyond its pages and is the kind of book that will make you google feverishly, search for other books and information related to its characters. This is a remarkable debut novel and I shall look forward to more books from Nancy Horan.


JoAnn said...

This has been brought up a couple different times at my book club, but never been selected. I know very little about FLW, so your review makes me think I could still appreciate the book. TC Boyle's The Women is also about Wright. A friend of mine read it last month and raved about it.

Priya Parmar said...

hello! i wanted to stop by and tell you that i have a couple of awards for your marvellous blog at the plum bean project, but being technically inept i have not a clue how to link them! they are waiting for you whenever you get the chance to pick them up!

Kals said...

JoAnn - I definitely think you'll be able to appreciate the book, whether you knew FLW or not. In fact, its more of Mamah Borthwick's story than it is Frank's. This book makes for many discussions and will be a perfect book club read, I think :)

Priya - Thank you so very much..I'm so glad! This is a great start to my day :)

Bhargavi said...

sounds like a good book .. u get books like these in Elloor?

The Book Mole said...

I used to live in Chicago, and loved to walk around Oak Park and see all the FLW houses. I know very little about the man himself though - this sounds like a good resource.

Kim said...

Great review! I read it last year and second all your thoughts.

A Buckeye Girl Reads said...

I'm another one who doesn't know much about Frank Lloyd Wright. I loved this review-it makes me really want to read it.

Kals said...

Bedazzled - Yes, you get this book in Eloor.

The Book Mole - Oh yeah, this is an ideal resource because the book doesn't presume that everyone who reads it knows FLW :)

Kim - Thank you :)

Colette - Thanks so much! :) It's definitely worth your time.

Whitney said...

I read this last year and think my feeling could best be described as those to Wuthering Heights, I love the story just none of the characters.

I must agree with you though, I knew very little about FLW before reading this, and researched the subject further after completion.

Sam McCall said...

I have honestly never heard of these people but now I want to find the book and do a little research too. Thanks also for subscribing to my blog. Its plain but oh so fun to run.

Kals said...

Whitney - I think the comparison to Wuthering Heights is spot on! I had the same feelings about the book - great tale, unlikable characters.

ReadingRainbow - You're welcome :)

christa @ mental foodie said...

My book club is reading this book this month! I haven't read it yet (as I tend to forget details when I read the book too soon!) but will do so after finishing my current book. Book club meets on the 3rd Tuesday, so it'd be interesting to see what everyone else thinks! I don't know much about FLW at all, but do love his architecture (not that I know much about them either... but I do like the style!)

Vaishnavi said...

This book sounds very good. I know nothing at all about Frank Lloyd Wright but I am going to google him now! Awesome review :)

Kals said...

Christa - I think this book is an excellent choice for a book club! Loads to discuss about and people are bound to have varied opinions. Have fun :)

Vaishnavi - I knew nothing about FLW either. But the book is very accommodative of those who aren't aware of him. Mamah Cheney, not FLW, is the unforgettable person in the book though :)


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