Learning to See: A Novel of Dorothea Lange, the Woman Who Revealed the Real America

Elise Hooper. Morrow, $15.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-268653-4
In an earnest sophomore effort that closely hews to biographical facts, Hooper (The Other Alcott) presents a fictionalized account of photographer Lange, who snapped the famous Migrant Mother picture in 1936. Hooper’s Lange is scrappy, fighting for success first as a portrait photographer in San Francisco in the late 1910s and into the 1920s, then as a documentarian of American life during the Great Depression and WWII. Lange’s tenacity stems from a troubled childhood—a bout with polio that left her with a twisted foot, an absent father, and an overworked mother. She’s determined to do better than her parents by attaining a rewarding career and a happy family life. But Lange’s first marriage, to painter Maynard Dixon, unravels with his infidelities. When their incomes take a hit from the Depression, Lange decides they should separate and place their two sons in foster care. She finds a better second marriage to Paul Taylor, an economist, but spends years trying to repair her relationships with her sons. Historical fiction fans will gobble up Hooper’s novel and be left with the satisfied feeling that they have lived through much of the 20th century with Dorothea Lange. Agent: Barbara Braun Assoc. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/19/2018
Release date: 01/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-268654-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-289202-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-9826-0859-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-9826-0860-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-9826-0858-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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