The latest “Anything but the Book” Club, better known as the Anderson Family Book Club, selection was Nancy Horan’s Loving Frank. This piece of fiction follows the affair of Frank Lloyd Wright with one of his clients, Mamah Borthwick Cheney. Told from Mamah’s perspective, it recounts the love and frustration of this couple in the early 1900’s. They first hide their relationship from their families, but eventually run off together, leaving behind their spouses and children.
The book’s focus is how Mamah is an independent woman at a time when there were few, and Frank is the genius architect with his own hidden demons. However, instead of appearing as revolutionaries, they merely appear selfish. Mamah leaves her children to be raised by her sister, and still acts like she’s been wronged when criticism befalls her. Frank cannot control his spending and finances, but argues that his workers should just be happy they get to learn from him. Together they make about the least sympathetic couple ever.
But the book is fairly interesting. At first I didn’t know how they would turn this story into a whole novel. And it did drag on, especially the first half. The final portion finally picked up, and the ending was a whirlwind that was unexpected. While the conclusion is true, it almost made me laugh after the plodding nature of the rest of the book. I think I liked Loving Frank, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a new book to read.
3/5Want to read along with the Anderson Book Club? The next installment is Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen.