Thought this was an amazing first novel. If you like historical fiction, you should definitely read this book.
This book was good, and leaves the reader with a lot of questions to work through. Was Mamah a throughly modern woman, throughly confused, or throughly taken over by Frank Wright? I don't think she was totally selfish, as other readers have suggested, but more a product of a time when women's roles were so limited that she didn;t have enough freedom to figure out what would suit her the best. At the end, I think she got caught up in a trap of feeling like she had to stay with Frank (even though he was a irresponsible egoist at times) because otherwise, how would she have been able to justify leaving her children. In order to divorce in her time, there had to be some over-powering compulsion, there was no irreconcilable differences. I almost had to feel sorry for her, because she didn't have time enough in life to complete anything. Definitely a thought-provoking book.
I was surprised by his childish, irresponsible, selfish side. The book left me wishing I could talk to Mamah about her life.
I had a tough time with this book. It was hard to separate my feelings as a mom from that of a modern woman who believes that every individual is entitled to independence and freedom. Nancy Horan did a great job of creating a multi-faceted character and allowing us to see all sides of her. I would highly recommend it if your book club enjoys spirited discussions!
I had the same trouble with it though I completely loved it.
I was too ticked off with Mamah & Frank to judge the book on any literary merits. He was an ass, she was at best a lost soul, at worst a horrible person. I'll go with the latter. Abandonment is abandonment, whatever your rationale or cause. I found the story very static. The author fleshed out Mamah's suffragette background but I never thought that it, or her love for Frank, explained her extreme actions. The writing was adequate, but left me disatisfied with Mamah's thought process. Never really answered the question of why she did what she did. I think she tried a little too hard to make Mamah a sympathetic character. I found it very hard to care much what happened to her, though was of course shocked at the ending.
I have to disagree with you - I found this book so close to true life with Mamah that I thought it was easy to like her - sometimes hard to totally understand her but nevertheless I didn't hate her or think she was horrible. I agree that leaving her kids was pretty much unthinkable but then again she did have such "privilege" she didn't even relate to her children like we nowadays would I think so to walk away was to fade further, not to just one day be gone. Do you understand what I am saying? I don't think she ever was a "big" part of her children's life or did she see herself that way - NOT saying I agree with her decisions but I can see maybe what she told herself. Also the love she had for Frank really overcame her I believe and once again that might not be the right thing to let happen in your life but it is something that I can understand to a point and also one might find romantic. Basically I have to like this book because it was I believe true to life - it is what people go thru all the time and usually life is just as careless as Mamah was - not all neat and planned out and perfect. I wouldn't say that she abandoned her kids as so much wanted what a divorce just in those days you had no right as a woman to get one without extreme measures taken like leaving and not coming back for years.
I am in the middle of this book, and though I don't dislike Mamah, she sometimes makes me so irritated I could slap someone. She rarely even thinks of her kids, and when she does she pities herself over missing them. Any half-way decent mother would NEVER leave her kids for any reason. You give birth, and naturally those kids become number one, or they should anyway. I would just as soon cut off my right arm than be without my kids. I would follow no man but Christ himself like she followed Frank; who is completely annoying. There is no justification for an affair.
You don't dislike her, yet she irritates you so much you could slap SOMEone? Slap her! You yourself said she's not a decent mother, there was no justification for her affair, she's selfish and whines about her life when it was all her own doing. What's to like?
One of the best books I have ever read. A terrific book club selection. Fascinating.
I can't agree more! I loved it. It was complicated but isn't that what life is?
Even though I cared very little for Mamah, i could identify with soley the fact that she struggled with defining who she was outside of motherhood. None of that could EVER justify abandoning her children as she did. I think this would be a fabulous book club discussion book.
I totally agree with the you. That was the part of the book I really related to. I'm sure we've all felt like running away to pursue our own dreams and careers but to leave those poor kids, especially in the early 1900's, seemed a bit hard to swallow. The ending bothered me too. Plan on bringing it to my own book club though.
Did she abandon her kids or her husband? I think what she did was abandon her husband so that she could obtain a divorce because in those days that is one of the only ways she could get one. I don't agree this is a great move on her part or something that is OK but I really do believe in reading the book that she did it to free herself of her husband not her children and she did that because she knew she loved another man and couldn't stay in a faithful marriage to him any longer.
The story was captivating, especially because it is based on actual events, but the characters were not all that likable. Mamah was annoying, and I was disgusted with the way she just abandoned her family. Frank seemed to have no backbone, and used artistic talent as an excuse to mess up his personal life. So much tragedy for all of the involved parties! My sister had to convince me to read this book, but I'm glad I let her talk me into it. This is a book that sticks with you long after you have finished reading.
Did all of this "really" happen? Leaving your children is pretty heartless and the ending...that was really true?
From another book about Frank Lloyd Wright it appears to be true on both their parts -- leaving their children. It does seen heartless and extremely self-centered. For another good read try Frank Lloyd Wright - A Life by Ada Louise Huxtable.
Next read The Women by T.C.Boyle. Lloyd Wright's women. Didn't like Mamah? Wait till you meet his next love Marion. One thing that surprized me was the newspaper interest in Lloyd Wright's life. There's nothing new about tabloid sensationalism, gossip has always made headlines.
I couldn't get past the fact that Mamah left her children!! Even though I couldn't stand her, I want to read more about her; she had to be mentally disturbed to be so selfish. Everything that happened meant how does it impact Mamah. I want to try and understand her motivations.Any recommendations?
She was looking for happiness, her "muse" in life, I can't understand how you did not get this. I think she was the opposite of mentally disturbed, she was trying to find herself and become a more authentic self. I felt she was fighting against becoming mentally dead.