You always know when a comparison is accurate when it’s not entirely flattering. I identify strongly with Frank Lloyd Wright – obviously I am no architect, but I surround myself with artists and love the marriage of form and function. I also have an issue with balancing this with the cost of such luxuries.
“I don’t buy junk. When I buy something, it’s got to be perfection or I don’t want it. You won’t find me coming home with five cheap suits, one for each day of the week. I’d rather have one perfect suit or none.”
Dude, same. The problem is that you have to have money for such things. Another, better Frank Lloyd Wright book summed up his philosophy as making luxuries a priority as the necessities always find a way to take care of themselves and I was dismayed by how much I agreed.
Anyway, this was a good book, but it wasn’t one perfect suit. I believe Mamah Borthwick Cheney was ahead of her time, but this reads like someone putting modern thoughts in the head of someone who couldn’t have had them. Nancy Horan has obviously done a lot of research on her relationship with Frank Lloyd Wright, and has taken understandable liberties where unable to find original source material, but this just didn’t feel lived in in the same way that T. C. Boyle’s The Women did. I suppose it’s not fair to compare the two, but it’s hard when they cover so much of the same ground.
I would have been more interested in the earlier days of their courtship, as it may have given some context for Mamah’s choices (to leave her husband, to see her children so rarely, to betray a friend) but the affair is in progress when we start the book, and it suffers for it. It was an enjoyable read, but it doesn’t meet the FLW “one perfect suit” test.