- Books, Literature, and Writing
Biography Review: "Loving Frank" by Nancy Horan
Despite His Scandalous Personal Life, Frank Lloyd Wright Was an Amazing Architect. Unfortunately, for Nearly a Decade, His Personal Life Overshadowed his Archi
Wright's Scandal Nearly Destroyed His Career
Even in today's fairly liberal, modern world, if an affluent, well-known couple left their spouses and their children behind in order to run away together, it would create a scandal that would almost certainly be featured in "National Enquirer" and "People Magazine." Depending on how well-known they are, it might even make the television news and talk shows. In the early 1900s in the midwestern city of Chicago, such an affair was even more shocking than it would be today. People were absolutely shocked and many were angry.
The biography, "Loving Frank", retells the true story of the tragic and scandalous relationship between well-known architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick, the wife of one of his clients, during the years from 1907 through 1914.
"Loving Frank" by Nancy Horan (available from Amazon, below) covers a period of time during which social mores were changing in both the United States and Europe, although most people still held very conservative, traditional views of marriage. While both Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick struggled with the implications of their actions on their children and spouses, Mamah was also a feminist who was more concerned about her right to live a life that was free of the restrictions of a traditional marriage than she was about the right to vote or other women's issues. Sadly, living that life also meant that she was not able to keep her children.
During these years, Mamah spent some time in Europe where she met the Swedish feminist Ellen Key. Key encouraged Mamah to examine her own motivations in leaving her husband and children in order to be with Frank, and to consider whether she was simply trading one restrictive situation for another one. The discussions and letters that are shared in the book are very thought-provoking.
This biography deals with far more than the simple rehashing of an affair that occurred a century ago. It also introduces readers to the emergence of the women's independence movement in the early 20th century, as well as changing morality and values in Europe and the United States. In addition, it provides insight into how this early example of celebrity news affected the private lives of people, especially after the affair of Mamah and Frank was paraded across the front pages of Chicago's newspapers. The press loved this story, regardless of how much damage their stories did and how many people were hurt ... including the children of the infamous couple.
Whether you are interested in biographies, scandals, early 20th century history or the women's movement, this book is certain to fascinate you. As one of the women in my bookclub declared, "I loved the book but hated the people." I wonder if you will feel the same way.
I highly recommend this book and would rate it 5 Stars for anyone who is enjoys reading biographies, especially those that deal with women's history.
Watch This Video Interview with the Author
Learn more about the background of this book and what compelled the author to write it. I always find it fascinating to learn more about any book from the viewpoint of the author.
Watch the Video Above
It is a memorable interview with the author of "Loving Frank."