The narration of any book makes or breaks the experience for me, In the case of "Loving Frank, the narration grated to the point that I simply couldn't listen any more.
Ms. Horan over-anunciates, and her cadence and inflection are exaggerated - far more suited for reading bed time fairy tales to children.
However, what is worse is the way is the voice she adopts for men. Her method seems to be to tighten her vocal chords and speak through her nose - occasionally descending into gravelly undertones - with no emotion or subtly. I couldn't even listen to what Frank was saying, it was toneless, flat and irritating. All other men's voices are pretty much treated the same way, growling and nasal and flat.
I tried, really tried, to go back and power my way through, but finally just couldn't, and turned to the book instead.
My book club chose Loving Frank and I picked it up on Audible so that I could listen at work and have it done in time for our meeting. It's probably not a book I'd have gotten on my own choosing. About half way through I scrapped the Audible version and purchased the book because I couldn't take the narrator's rendering of Frank Lloyd Wright's voice. She made him sound as though he suffered from chronic, painful constipation.
I thought the author did a fair job in recreating FLW in historical form. My grandfather was a tradesman who lived east of Spring Green, WI and though he never worked for Wright, had friends who did. Years ago my grandfather told me about how Wright typically didn't pay his laborers because they ought to have taken working for him as payment. I liked that this particular arrogance of his made a major plot point in the book.
However, I thought the book really dragged through the middle. I pushed through, knowing the historical conclusion to the story so that I could see how the author presented the ending. I wish more time was spent developing the last few pages. If the book had no basis in history, I think readers would think that the author came up with some crazy hurried way to conclude the loose ends. As it is truth is stranger than fiction and the book would have been made better by spending a little more time in the truth than the conjecture of who Mamah Cheney was.
Say something about yourself!
Probably not but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. I found it extremely interesting and it made me think. Think about the women's movement, think about women who leave their children behind, and think about the importance of intellectual stimulation.
I thought she had a great quality to her voice that was pleasant to listen to. She helped you like the character of Mamah and give her thoughtful consideration.
I didn't find much humor but I did find sadness. But I also thought how I appreciate what women like Mamah did for women. I have a pretty tough time thinking about a woman abandoning her children but I do understand the desire to be able to use ones mind and and be considered an intelligent person and not just an appendage. Women had so few choices in her time. She was an extremely brave person but perhaps selfish too. For that matter I have always thought of Frank Lloyd Wright as a pompous ass. But this book also gave you some insight into his persona.
An interesting look at a story that is, by and large, one of history's footnotes. This novel focuses on the story of Mamah Borthwick and Frank Lloyd Wright from a 3rd person perspective which looks through the eyes of Mamah. In so doing, it is a little ponderous in getting to the depths of the affair, and we never really come to know Mamah, much less Frank. This does not help us relate to the choices they make nor to their meanderings through Europe, Japan and their building project, particularly. Nonetheless, the final scenes are no less shocking. The writing is solid, but not inspired. Ditto the narration.
I normally love historical fiction and have liked Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture for years. I thought I was getting two for one, but after the first few chapters I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through this book. While I enjoy looking at architecture, I’ve never studied it and knew nothing of Wright. The book is fictional, but my assumption is the thread of the story is not too far off from the actual events. The writing and narration were fine. The two main characters were not likeable people. My take away is they were both very selfish individuals and I couldn’t wait to be done with them. To some extent having a glimpse at his life has tainted his architecture for me.
I just moved to Oak Park and this was actually my first audio book. How appropriate! So much of this book spoke about the neighborhood I now call home. Just a beautifully written depiction of a forbidden but true love story that ultimately ended tragically. I found myself immersed in their life/story as if I were living in those times. Well done!
I'd recommend it to a friend. It held my interest start to finish. Don't google FLW before you read this or it will spoil the story
I have been a fan of FLW architecture for decades and have toured many of his homes, including Oak Park. However, I knew nothing of his personal history. This book makes me want to review the years they were constructed to correlate to what is described in the book. It is unfathomable to imagine the social stigma of the time, so skilfully described in the book.
I've come to this novel late, so I won't dwell on what others have said about Joyce Bean's irritating rendering of men's voices (particularly Frank's) or the relatively sudden ending to an otherwise (sometimes overly) detailed story. I simply want to mention what I thought was the best part of this book, i.e., telling the stories of the early feminist movement in Europe and of marital infidelity from the inside out. Other reviewers have criticized and judged Mamah Borthwick's choices; however, if we follow Horan's gradual development of Ms Borthwick's thinking about the constrictive roles of women as wives and mothers and the feelings that led her to make the decisions she did regarding her marriage and children, we can see these things from Mamah's perspective. The results of these choices and decisions may have been unfortunate, but none of us can foresee where one or another fork in the road of our life's journey is going to take us several years hence. Was Mamah wrong to leave her children? Reviewers seem to agree that she was. However, were her motives impure or her actions incomprehensible? No. Letting the story of Mamah and Frank Lloyd Wright's love affair evolve in the way that she did is the strength of Horan's treatment of this subject.