Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Recommendation: If you haven't read this book, READ IT!

After reading the last two "downer" books, I reached for an old friend, and wasn't disappointed.

One of my favorite books I've read in the last few years. I don't think there are many people who haven't read it, so I'm not going to review it.

Just a reminder if you've forgotten about it.

Gossip: When I was looking for a cover picture, I saw that they are making a movie of this. Dakota Fanning as Lily, Queen Latifah as August, Jennifer Hudson as Rosaleen, Alicia Keyes as June.

It is listed on IMBD as "post-production."

Everyone seems a little younger than I imagined, but then again, I'm getting old.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

I read this in college, but didn't remember much past the premise. Because it takes place around the same time and has the same theme as Loving Frank, I thought I might as well.

I do feel for the women of this time period. I appreciate efforts women, including Mamah Borthwick, made in order to further Women's rights, suffarage, etc...I just feel like the stories are too extreme.

I think that in my day, women are encouraged to have book clubs and Ladies Nights. It is expected that we get bored or feel underappreciated. I would hope that that gives us a form to stand on and to try hard to meet our needs. In both these books, I kind of left with the thought that you can't let your life get to this point. The point where your only option is complete abandon.

An interesting quote from Edna Pontellier: "I would give up my life for my children; but I wouldn't give up myself."

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

My Recommendation: I don't really recommend this book. It is very sad and has a very tragic ending.

What I did like: The story itself is very interesting. I don't know a lot about Frank Lloyd Wright, but the descriptions of his theories were very interesting. I would love to see more of his homes based on the great descriptions the author writes.
I respect Nancy Horan for her obviously extensive research, and her attempts to tell Mamah Borthwick's side of the story. She really did try hard to justify the affair. I also liked her writing style. I have a page full of quotes that I liked from the book. The story was well told, I just didn't care for the story.
What I didn't like: I had a hard time sympathizing with the main characters. I will admit that had Mamah and Frank found themselves in the same situation 100 years later, their story would be drastically different. She could have filed for divorce, probably been given custody of her kids, and maybe lived happily ever after.
BUT, I just don't buy the theory that you can't be a good mom if your life isn't fulfilling in every way. Mamah felt something important missing from her life, and I do understand that. I just don't agree with the drastic measures she felt she had to take to improve her situation. She had a nanny and a housekeeper, so why didn't she have the time to make herself happy? I know I'm being critical.
"The greatest measure of her love would be to leave them alone." Nope, I disagree.