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Loving Frank

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Loving Frank Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

Reader's Guide

1. Do you think that Mamah is right to leave her husband and children in order to pursue her personal growth and the relationship with Frank Lloyd Wright? Is she being selfish to put her own happiness and fulfillment first?

2. Why do you think the author, Nancy Horan, gave her novel the title Loving Frank? Does this title work against the feminist message of the novel? Is there a feminist message?

3. Do you think that a woman today who made the choices that Mamah makes would receive a more sympathetic or understanding hearing from the media and the general public?

4. If Mamah were alive today, would she be satisfied with the progress women have achieved or would she believe there was still a long way to go?

5. In Sonnet 116, Shakespeare writes, "Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments. Love is not love/That alters where it alteration finds. .." How does the relationship of Mamah and Frank bear out the sentiments of Shakespeare’s sonnet? What other famous love matches fill the bill?

6. Is Mamah’s story relevant to the women of today?

7. Is Frank Lloyd Wright an admirable figure in this novel? Would it change your opinion of him to know that he married twice more in his life?

8. What about Edwin Cheney, Mamah’s husband? Did he behave as you might have expected after learning of the affair between his wife and Wright?

9. Edwin’s philosophy of life and love might be summed up in the following words from the novel: "Tell her happiness is just practice. If she acted happy, she would be happy." Do you agree or disagree with this philosophy?

10. "Carved over Wright's fireplace in his Oak Park home are the words "Life is Truth." What do you think these words mean, and do Frank and Mamah live up to them?

11. Why do you think Horan chose to give her novel the epigraph from Goethe, "One lives but once in the world."?

12. When Mamah confesses her affair to her friend Mattie, Mattie demands, "What about duty? What about honor?" Discuss some of the different meanings that characters in the novel attach to these two words.

13. In analyzing the failure of the women’s movement to make more progress, Mamah says, "Yet women are part of the problem. We plan dinner parties and make flowers out of crepe paper. Too many of us make small lives for ourselves." Was this a valid criticism at the time, and is it one today?

14. Why does seeing a performance of the opera Mefistofele affect Mamah so strongly?

15. Why is Mamah's friendship with Else Lasker Schuler important in the book?

16. Ellen Key, the Swedish feminist whose work so profoundly influences Mamah, states at one point, "The very legitimate right of a free love can never be acceptable if it is enjoyed at the expense of maternal love." Do you agree?

17. Another of Ellen Key’s beliefs was that motherhood should be recompensed by the state. Do you think an idea like this could ever catch on in America? Why or why not?

18. Is there anything that Frank and Mamah could have done differently after their return to America that would have ameliorated the harsh welcome they received from the press? Have things changed very much in that regard today?

19. What part did racism play in Julian Carlton’s crime? Were his actions the product of pure insanity, or was he goaded into violence?

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 11 comments:

Buckeye girl, January 23, 2012 (view all comments by Buckeye girl)
I really hadn't planned to read this book because I was not much interested in Frank Lloyd Wright's love life. A friend gave it to me after she had finished reading it. We didn't have time to discuss it because I was leaving town. As soon as I began reading, I became interested in the characters and the way their lives were affected by the social and moral constraints of their time. The dilemma faced by the woman who loved Frank resonates with women in our time, too. Choosing to leave her husband and children to follow a married lover and to seek self fulfillment through her own talents is both admirable and selfish, however liberated a woman may feel. The author has written a very perceptive fictional account of an actual relationship between Wright and his lover. Relying on publicly known facts about their time together, Horan has written a very credible account of two passionate flesh and blood characters whose defiance of the social norms of their day brought them joy but also much pain. Then, when things begin to resolve for them, tragedy strikes. A tragedy that remained in my thoughts long after I had finished the book because it had happened to very real people.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Robert Boursaw, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Robert Boursaw)
Wonderfully written. Nancy Horan takes you on an incredible journey.
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bkwrm, February 7, 2011 (view all comments by bkwrm)
This book is a wonderful glimpse into the life of
Frank Lloyd Wright and his lover.
Hard to believe they lived so long ago and dealt
with issues still relevant today! The ending is horrifying
especially since that part as well as the rest of the book
is based on true events in their lives.
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(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780345495006
Author:
Horan, Nancy
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Biographical
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Architects
Subject:
Wright, Frank Lloyd
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
Biographical fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General-General
Subject:
Literary
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20080431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
8.03x5.24x.85 in. .64 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Biographical
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Featured Titles
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Literature Folklore and Memoirs

Loving Frank Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.00 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345495006 Reviews:
"Review" by , "The novel has something for everyone — a romance, a history of architecture, and a philosophical and political debate on the role of women."
"Review" by , "One of Horan's achievements is how effectively she intertwines Mamah's evolution with the era's social change."
"Review" by , "It takes great courage to write a novel about historical people, and in particular to give voice to someone as mythic as Frank Lloyd Wright. This beautifully written novel about Mamah Cheney and Frank Lloyd Wright's love affair is vivid and intelligent, unsentimental and compassionate."
"Review" by , "[A] complex tale of the love affair between two eccentric, intelligent and unforgettable characters."
"Review" by , "The first great mystery in this story is what made Frank and Mamah sever their family ties....Ms. Horan has the novelistic imagination to conjure the psychic storm clouds that arose, as well as the freak criminal outburst."
"Review" by , "The plot, characters, and ideas meld into a novel that will be a treat for fans of historical fiction."
"Review" by , "[T]he perfect selection to jump-start some satisfyingly heated arguments within your book club."
"Review" by , "[A] beautifully designed, innovative and noteworthy work of art in itself."
"Review" by , "Horan excels at research, and does an admirable job of recreating the five or so years the two were together."
"Synopsis" by , US
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