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The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll: The Search for Dare Wright Paperback – July 14, 2005
100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
-- Mark Singer, Author of Somewhere in America and staff writer, The New Yorker
"Jean Nathan has given us a haunting portrait of a haunted and heartbreaking creative life. Here is proof, if ever any was needed, that the children's books that last are those born not of lovely thoughts but of childhood's innermost necessities."-Leonard S. Marcus, author of Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon
"Reads like a novel, and a Gothic one at that, full of outsized characters, an evocatively drawn backdrop, and with a strange and compelling mystery at its heart."-Meg Wolitzer, author of The Wife
"A beguiling piece of detective work, which itself makes for a kind of fairy tale."-Stacy Schiff, author of Vera
"Although I never read The Lonely Doll as a child or saw Dare Wright's photographs, it's as if somehow I did. Nathan has done an amazing job to capture Wright's life on the page and to bring us into the household of one of the saddest dysfunctional families ever."-Cindy Sherman
"An evocative, amazing biography."-Jacki Lyden, author of Daughter of the Queen of Sheba
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Top Customer Reviews
First, she set about getting a copy of the book, which was no easy feat. After many attempts to locate Wright, Nathan simply opened the phone book and there was the author's address. It was with both anticipation and a little dread that she wrote to her. What if Wright was dead? Is it better not to know? Within a few weeks, she received her answer. Brook Ashley was a friend of the Wright family and explained that Dare was in a New York hospital on life support. Since there were no living relatives, Brook stepped in to act as her legal guardian. She was touched by Nathan's letter and began regaling her with the story of Dare's life.
Dare Wright was the second child born to Edith Stevenson and Ivan Wright in 1914. Both parents had artistic leanings. Wright was a failed actor and ultimately a theater critic, and Edith, known as Edie, desperately longed to study art abroad but was forced to abandon that dream when she married. Their first child was a son named Blaine. The family shuttled back and forth between Toronto and New York. Edie and Ivan's marriage was strained from the beginning and, after the children were born, quickly began to disintegrate. They divorced and Edie took young Dare and settled in Cleveland, while Blaine stayed with Ivan. Early on, the relationship between mother and daughter could best be described as oddly intense.Read more ›
My earliest memory of the Lonely Doll books is seeing a copy of "Edith and Big Bad Bill" for sale in a local Cleveland candy store, which did not normally carry books, but was clearly featuring this one due to the local interest. I was about five years old and was fascinated by the cover, which depicted Edith the doll tied to a tree. I wanted to know how she ended up that way and what happened to her. It was not all that different from my usual Saturday morning cartoon fare featuring ducks and bunnies pursued by hunters and teenage sleuths pursued by villains. My mother, however, detected something darker in the photo, refused to buy me the book, and spent some time exhorting me that that was not the proper method of playing with dolls.
Clearly my mother saw a darkness in the photo that eluded me. I later looked over some of the Edith books, including the one that had caught my eye, at the library, but for some reason they didn't strike a chord with me at the time. Although I do recall being a bit disappointed that Big Bad Bill was really not so bad and that he untied Edith without any daring rescue or further adventure taking place. :)
As an adult, I remembered the books and especially Big Bad Bill and decided to Google around for some information. I found the Dare Wright webpage a couple of years ago, and recently discovered that this book had also been written.Read more ›
I simply could not put the book down. If Dare Wright's life were fiction, you would dismiss it out of hand as overblown, exaggerated and unbelievable. A beautiful model and gifted photographer, she lived in the shadow of her dominating mother (herself a hugely successful society painter) and was incapable of having a normal relationship with a man....excepting her obsessive, almost incestuous relationship with her brother Blaine.
As a child, I was fascinated by the Lonely Doll books although I never was given one to own. I must have read them at the library or book store, though, because I recall them very clearly. (Dare Wright produced sequels right up into the early 80s.) I was particularly fascinated by the concept of photographing dolls with props, which Ms. Wright accomplished with rare feeling and subtlety in black and white. I know as a youngster I tried to do the same with my Barbie's -- not an easy task! Ms. Wright had an very large and especially beautiful and photographic Lenci doll from her childhood to work with.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting story! Loved the Lonely Doll books as a child and had been thinking about them lately. Was delighted to find this biography. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Swooze
I've always loved the Lonely Doll book series when I was in elementary school. Big Bear, Little Bear, and Edith! I've searched for the books for at least 20 some years. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Diane C. Rivera
An exceptional and nuanced biography of a fascinating woman. A very, very special book.Published 6 months ago by Tracy Ranson
I loved the Lonely Doll series when I was young and I was intrigued to read about it's author.Published 7 months ago by KEM
I never read the "Lonely Doll" series, and being a doll lover and avid reader as a child, I'm not quite sure how I missed something I would have most surely loved. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Serena Williams
Very very interesting biography; highly recommended. Note: the edition that I just completed (2004, First Edition) has no index, so prepare to flip through pages to keep track of... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Judith Kay McGee
amazing true story, should be a movie. in the same vein as the "grey gardens". Love this book.Published 13 months ago by Claire Acerno