This month’s book club selection was Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. The book is a fictionalized version of Frank Lloyd Wright’s relationship with Mamah Borthwick. [if you don’t know the story, don’t go to the Wikipedia entry — it spoiled some of the book for me] I was unfamiliar with this story despite being a U.S. women’s historian. Overall I thought the book was a great read. She does an excellent job of capturing the period without being boring. Mamah is a compelling character — Horan is able to present the dilemmas women of her generation faced. At the same time, Mamah’s attempts to find her own voice and negotiate romance and motherhood have a lot of relevance for today’s women.
I also learned some new things, especially about Ellen Key — I was only familiar with her book, The Century of the Child, not her feminist writings. I wonder if Key was as much of a jerk as she comes across in this book!
There were a few things I didn’t like — some parts dragged a bit, especially the parts with Key who again does not come across as very likable or even all that interesting. The ending is also rather abrupt (won’t spoil it here). I would have liked to have more material on Mamah’s relationship with her sisters and best friend (in fact the material on college women and the problem of “after college, what” was the most interesting part of the book for me).
A book club entry would not be complete without a review of the restaurant — Masala Indian Bar & Restaurant, onMain Street (where Low Country used to be). This has to be the best Indian food I’ve ever had (of course I’ve never been to India). It’s a bit pricey, but the preparation and presentation are well worth it. Subtle flavors, not as greasy as what you typically get. Will definitely go back, although will try to find a place to park near the Atheneum since the valet parking is quite expensive!