Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Everything Frank!

Well, it's been too long. I read like a fiend over break and have failed to post anything due to my hectic school schedule and family life. So, here's an update.

I finished PEACE, LOVE AND BABY DUCKS by Lauren Myracle (due out May, 2009) and declared it a definite "girl book". Young, wealthy and privileged Carly returns home after a granola summer away to find her slightly younger sister has "blossomed" into a striking woman. In her opulent Atlanta suburb, however, Carly is becoming disenchanted with the shallowness of everyone around her in her community as well as her very expensive private school. With a little romance and "sister warring" thrown in, Myracle has hit on a very trendy and upbeat YA girl novel. Most of my students will love this and I thought it was a bit deeper than most YA girl books in vogue at the present. At least Carly is questioning the unbridled consumerism in her town and some of the situations are just downright funny! Couldn't find the cover art though, sorry.

Then, I embarked on my first Frank Lloyd Wright obsession. I have always had an interest in the incredible architect who changed American buildings, but I have never studied his life or his work aside from Falling Water and Ann Arbor's own Domino's Farm building- though I believe that Domino's may be Wright-esque and not actually designed by FLW. So....with that said, my oldest daughter and I read Blue Balliett's THE WRIGHT 3 just recently and we both became obsessed with Wright's work.
Calder, Petra and Tommy set out on another mystery to find out who is snooping around Hyde Park's Robie House (scheduled to be demolished)and they need to help their teacher's efforts to save the landmark. The three unlikely friends explore Wright's work and learn some of the history behind the house during their undertakings. I found the ending scenes to be quite exciting and I absolutely loved the denouement! Such a feel-good, happy story but incredibly well-crafted. My daughter and I have plans to go to Hyde Park this summer to tour the Robie House as well as visit Powell's bookstore and the Medici Bakery. Oh yes, and the Japanese Gardens. Then, we'll take on Taliesin.

Strangely enough, I was reading LOVING FRANK by Nancy Horan at the same time we were reading Balliett's book together. This was a sheer coincidence, but one that began my craving for more Frank Lloyd Wright info. While I'm still finishing the Horan book, I LOVE the way she took the history and weaved it into fiction. The novel revolves around Wright's leaving his first wife (and six children) to run off with a client's wife, Mamah Bothwick. Their travels made me envious and I often wonder where she got that kind of money to roam around Europe, but perhaps Frank picked up the tab for everything. I won't give away what I know is a tragic ending, but I was fortunate enough to get my book group to agree to read this for February. I look forward to discussing so many parts of this novel from the feminist perspective to the changing architecture that Wright coerced Americans into. Websites and books on Wright and Prairie style architecture are strewn about my entire house! I even dragged the twins out for a drive during break to find the FLW house that's for sale in my neighborhood. How I wish I could live there!

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