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"Welcome to Rockwell Land," writes Deborah Solomon in the introduction to this spirited and authoritative biography of the painter who provided 20th-century America with a defining image of itself. As the star illustrator of The Saturday Evening Post for nearly half a century, Norman Rockwell mingled fact and fiction in paintings that reflected the we-the-people, communitarian ideals of American democracy. Freckled Boy Scouts and their mutts, sprightly grandmothers, a young man standing up to speak at a town hall meeting, a little black girl named Ruby Bridges walking into an all-white school - here was an America whose citizens seemed to believe in equality and gladness for all.
Who was this man who served as our unofficial "artist in chief" and bolstered our country's national identity? Behind the folksy, pipe-smoking facade lay a surprisingly complex figure - a lonely painter who suffered from depression and was consumed by a sense of inadequacy. He wound up in treatment with the celebrated psychoanalyst Erik Erikson. In fact, Rockwell moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, so that he and his wife could be near Austen Riggs, a leading psychiatric hospital.
"What's interesting is how Rockwell's personal desire for inclusion and normalcy spoke to the national desire for inclusion and normalcy," writes Solomon. "His work mirrors his own temperament - his sense of humor, his fear of depths - and struck Americans as a truer version of themselves than the sallow, solemn, hard-bitten Puritans they knew from 18th-century portraits."
What would have made American Mirror better?
more research on the subject.
What could Deborah Solomon have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
reported the facts not her opinions!!!
How did the narrator detract from the book?
the narrator was fine.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
i would like a refund if i could ...very Dissapointed.
Any additional comments?
The part that sealed it for me was when she commented on other artist models being left out and neglected by other Artist and how the models felt about it. She then brings up Picasso and Dora Mar! Big mistake because I am a big Picasso fan and have read everything i could get my hands on about Picasso. Every Picasso fan knows that they had a turbulent love affair and she tries to compare this to Norman Rockwell and his boy models. Outrages!!! i didn't even listen to the complete book she i found this inaccuracy...
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
The book has some interesting facts that I had not read about Rockwell, which is why I gave it a 2. Every great artist has his skeletons and issues. This author peppers the book with every little mis-truths that the author may have stated. Continuously kept pointing to homosexual tendencies. I personally want to hear more of techniques, no being frequently told he said one thing, but we researched, and that was not the truth. There are a few good books on the man, spend your money on one of many others.
What do you think your next listen will be?
Abaddon's Gate or Tom and Jack
Would you listen to another book narrated by Andrea Gallo?
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from American Mirror?
I think everything past Chapter 4
Any additional comments?
I personally think the author has a grudge against Rockwell. In all fairness to the author, she may have tried to make it informative, but ran it into the ground.
Though I did enjoy the book, I did feel that the author's narrative of Rockwell being a repressed homosexual was very heavy handed. At many points throughout the novel I felt the Deborah Solomon would lead us down a path of accusations but would always end with a form of "I'm not sayin', but I'm just sayin'...".
Take away that aspect of the book and I feel it was a solid read.