#TLCBookTours: Learning to See

February 5, 2019 Uncategorized 12 ★★★★★

#TLCBookTours: Learning to SeeTitle: Learning to See
Author: Elise Hooper
Source: from publisher for review

Summary: This was a unique story about an amazing woman and a fascinating time period, made even more awesome by the associated photographs.

This is a fictionalization of the life of Dorothea Lange, famous photographer of depression-era migrants and the interment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Given that she was a working woman during the 1920s-1940s, she faced many challenges balancing her personal life with her work life and never found a spouse willing to help with parenting. Initially a society photographer, her evolution into a more socially conscious artist was also a fascinating part of this story.

I love historical fiction, but even some of the best books can blur together for me. So many dual narratives, so much WWII, such similar narrative styles. This book was something unique and different. The depression era setting was out of the ordinary for me and the author did a great job bringing to life the hardship of the period. Dorothea’s struggles as a parent, as a working woman, and as an activist trying to improve the world all felt raw and real. Although the author did a fabulous job, I think the book also benefited from Dorothea’s photography. Reading descriptions of Dorothea’s pictures and then finding many of them online brought home the fact that this story was rooted in real events. Some of Dorothea’s pictures were absolutely heart-breaking and they added impact to the author’s descriptions of different scenes.

What a cool story this was! I loved Dorothea’s friendships with other photographers, including several amazing women. I loved that she was successful in both phases of her career because she was able to talk to people and make them feel comfortable with her. I loved the way she built her own business and wasn’t afraid to leave it when she felt she could make more of a difference elsewhere. I would have liked it if a few more of Dorothea’s pictures had been included in the book and I would have liked a slightly more detailed author’s note about where the story deviated from reality, but I’m happy to remedy that myself by picking up some books of her photography and a biography. The story itself didn’t feel lacking in anyway, but it did leave me excited to learn more about Dorothea Lange.

For other opinions, check out the other stops on the book tour or the Harper Collins website.

12 Responses to “#TLCBookTours: Learning to See”

  1. Sara @ TLC Book Tours

    I love that this book spurred your desire to learn more about Dorothea Lange, that’s so great! Thank you for being a part of this tour!

  2. Angela

    I’m always on the lookout for historical fiction that’s different from what I normally read. I love that the book includes her photographs, that’s a nice touch!

    • DoingDewey

      It really was! And I found even more of her photos online. It made me more aware of the fact that I was reading about a real person, which I enjoyed. I love historical fiction but do find it can all start to feel the same, so I was glad this was something more unique 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      Yeah, I recognized her name, but didn’t know anything about her, so I think I came into it with less knowledge than you have! I really enjoyed this anyway though and now I want to know more.

    • DoingDewey

      I think so! She led an interesting life and her accomplishments are particularly impressive in the context of her times.

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