Thursday, January 31, 2019

Learning to See: A Novel by Elise Hooper

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

“Written with grace, empathy, and bright imagination, Learning to See gives us the vivid interior life of a remarkably resilient woman. Dorothea Lange’s story is about passion and art, love and family, but also about the sacrifices women make—and have always made—to illuminate the truth of the world.” Danya Kukafka, national bestselling author of Girl in Snow

Learning to See is a gripping account of the Dorothea Lange, the woman behind the camera who risked everything for art, activism, and love.
In 1918, a fearless twenty-two-year old arrives in bohemian San Francisco from the Northeast, determined to make her own way as an independent woman. Renaming herself Dorothea Lange she is soon the celebrated owner of the city’s most prestigious and stylish portrait studio and wife of the talented but volatile painter, Maynard Dixon.

By the early 1930s, as America’s economy collapses, her marriage founders and Dorothea must find ways to support her two young sons single-handedly. Determined to expose the horrific conditions of the nation’s poor, she takes to the road with her camera, creating images that inspire, reform, and define the era. And when the United States enters World War II, Dorothea chooses to confront another injustice—the incarceration of thousands of innocent Japanese Americans.

At a time when women were supposed to keep the home fires burning, Dorothea Lange, creator of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century, dares to be different. But her choices came at a steep price…

my thoughts:

What a fantastic book! I absolutely LOVED it!! I'm a huge fan of historical fiction, so I was excited to get the chance to review Elise Hooper's latest novel, Learning to See: A Novel of Dorothea Lange, the Woman Who Revealed the Real America.  Let me just say - AMAZING!! This book was such a treat to read - history, art, and America - what more could I want, right? How about a badass photographer named Dorothea Lange who set out to capture images portraying the real lives of the impoverished Americans and the interned Japanese.  Yep, this book tells us all about it and it is superb.

Learning to See is the fictionalized story of famed photographer, Dorothea Lange.  A woman who's work captured an important part of American history - the plight of the poor and the interned Japanese - the Great Depression and WWII.  She showed the world what people were truly experiencing - how they were living, working, and just trying to survive.  In this captivating story we get to see Lange start out and find her passion.  We read about her marriage and family - the difficulties of trying to balance it all.  And, we see how she struggles to raise her children, support them, and continue to pursue her passion of photography.  Such a great story of an American talent.

Hooper has written a captivating novel that you can't help but fall in love with.  The rich details provide a full, engaging history of Lange's life.  Her perspective is clear, driven, and personal.  I just loved diving into this book in the evenings and getting lost in a different era of American history - it was such a treat. I would happily recommend this book to fans of Hooper and Lange - you will LOVE this novel so much!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Learning to See
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!


Lark said...

Oh...this one's on my To Read list! I love Lange's photographs. They're so amazing. I'm so glad you loved this book. I can't wait to read it. :D

Sara Strand said...

I am so excited to read this one! Thanks for being on the tour!

Sara @ TLC Book Tours

Nadia said...

Lark, definitely add it - you are going to enjoy it so much :)

Sara, such a great read! Thanks for having me on this tour :)

DoingDewey said...

I loved too! I felt like it was different from any other historical fiction I've read, in the setting and with the inclusion of Lange's photography. I liked seeing Dorothea find her passion as well. The character development and career development were both fascinating.