Nancy Horan - Loving Frank: A Novel

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What she gave up

Jul 22, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Well done descriptions of the agonies of the thing

Cons:a little long, even at 350 pages.

The Bottom Line: Although well written, this book is a big downer. Read it if you are just too happy with your life.


This is a tragic love story, much akin to Madame Bovary's trials. Mamah has left her family - her little children and a doting husband along with her unmarried sister - to take up with an artist. This is something like running away to join the circus. Frank Loyd Wright has left his marriage as well, and never is divorced, though Mamah does become divorced. In fact, she's so afraid of repercussions, she hides in Europe. How can this be the right thing to do, I ask? She goes through depression and anxiety (only fair, I say), and goes to work for a woman's lib woman as a translator. In fact, this woman chastises Mamah for leaving her family and living with Frank.

Clearly, the woman erred, and honestly, I didn't get a lift out of reading this book, and I didn't learn anything, except to confirm my beliefs that when you have a family, your responsibility is to them. Period. If you are unhappy, find out why and fix it, but take care of your kids, for goodness' sake.

At any rate, Frank is obviously caught up in his architecture and spends money like water...he is moody, anxious, and really, I can't see the attraction, but oh well. Ultimately, he won't live in Italy, but insists on building his famous home in Wisconsin, very near his own birth family, but not near his children. Though Oak Brook, IL isn't too far. Mamah had begged to live there, but he discounts her at every turn.

I'm not sure Frank loves her as much as she loves him. He is constantly refusing her, orders a house full of furniture without her, and rarely consults her on anything. I know it's 1917, and all, but believe me, most women were in charge of their relationships...

The ending is gruesome at best, and it is foreshadowed in the book as well. Indeed, the entire thing is a sad, sad story.


Recommend this product? No


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