This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

Finally. I finished this book.

I started on it after Coraline, which is well over a month ago. I didn't have this overwhelming urge to read pages and pages of it. And it is a good book. I think it has more to do with a slump in my reading and the deception that this book is a 'short' read (it has 356 pages in teeny-tiny print).

I almost gave up on it but I'm glad I didn't.

This novel is about Frank Lloyd Wright and his love affair with Martha Borthwick, known through out the book as "Mamah". I could not STAND this name as I would pronounce it as 'mama' in my head. With practice, I was able to change it to the correct pronunciation of 'maymuh'.

Despite the illicitness of their affair, I didn't dislike Mamah. I didn't adore her either. I will not ever understand how this woman could leave her two children for a man. And when I say leave, I mean that literally: she left her young children for Europe with Frank Lloyd Wright. Frank himself left his wife and six children behind.

But since I'm not a man, I can't relate to him. But I can relate to Mamah as a mother. And it crushed me to think this woman, who embrace feminism (set in the early 1900s) and following true love, would do it by sacrificing her children.

I am no traditionalist. I think love is love. And I think people marry for many reasons besides love. And I believe that if the marriage is not salvageable, then choices should be made to move forward to a happier life.

The only traditional piece in me with regard to this? To try to work it out first. I don't imagine that the marriages that last (with love) for the lifetime are without bumps. Sadly, I think, at least in the Western world, the first choice is to leave and divorce. There is no 'let's work this mess out' anymore.

But back to Mamah. She sought a happier life, but it was at the expense of her children. And she was GONE. Gone to live with another man without her children.

Although Nancy Horan's novel is fiction, it is based on actual events that are known about Frank Lloyd Wright. What little she found of Mamah's life is incorporated within this novel. All the way down to the tragedy that took Mamah's life and her two young children.

I didn't know much about Wright, other than some of the homes he built, as well as famous buildings. But I can say that this novel depicted Wright as not someone I had vaguely formed in my head about him.

He was selfish. Arrogant. Sneaky in a snarky way. Frivolous. Egotistical. And an elitist. If he was nothing like this, then the novel has influenced me enough to think more negatively about this man.

I went to wikipedia to read more about him and discovered that he had married at least twice more after Mamah. This was more disheartening as Horan ended the novel in such a bittersweet, romantic, everlasting true love way.

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