Learning to See
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. Now, in this riveting new novel by the author of The Other Alcott, we see the world through her eyes…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. Learning to See is a gripping account of the ambitious woman behind the camera who risked everything for art, activism, and love. But her choices came at a steep price…

Learning to See Details

TitleLearning to See
Author
ReleaseJan 22nd, 2019
PublisherWilliam Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN-139780062686541
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Art, Photography

Learning to See Review

  • Cindy Burnett
    January 1, 1970
    Learning to See tells the story of Dorothea Lange’s extraordinary life and her efforts to expose severe social injustices during the 1930s and 1940s. Lange spent the early years of her career in San Francisco as a portrait photographer. After her marriage begins to crumble and the U.S. economy collapses with the onset of the Great Depression, Lange must find a way to support her two young sons. She begins to travel around California capturing images of the Dust Bowl migrants and others who heade Learning to See tells the story of Dorothea Lange’s extraordinary life and her efforts to expose severe social injustices during the 1930s and 1940s. Lange spent the early years of her career in San Francisco as a portrait photographer. After her marriage begins to crumble and the U.S. economy collapses with the onset of the Great Depression, Lange must find a way to support her two young sons. She begins to travel around California capturing images of the Dust Bowl migrants and others who headed west during the 1930s transforming herself into an advocate and activist for the poor. After World War 2 began, Lange focused on the Japanese American internment camps exposing the horrific conditions under which these poor people were placed.Dorothea Lange’s photographs from the Great Depression era and the Japanese American internment camps are iconic and part of the fabric of our culture. Hooper’s novel brings the woman behind those photos to life including the sacrifices she made personally to bring about social change for those less fortunate. I loved that Hooper includes some of Lange’s photographs at the end of the book. While I was familiar with some of them, there were several I had never seen before, and it was enthralling to pore over the photos and Hooper’s caption for each photo. Learning to See is a tribute to an important American whose humanitarian efforts shone a spotlight on the poor and later the incarceration of Japanese Americans. The structure of the book is fabulous – Hooper begins in 1964 as Lange has received a letter from MoMA about launching a retrospective of her work and then travels back in time to tell Lange’s tale. I cannot say enough good things about Learning to See; Elise Hooper has written a book that every American should read about an important person and era in the history of the United States.
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  • ☮Karen
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars and my thanks to LibraryThing.com for the advanced copy.Photographer Dorothea Lange's most famous work is probably Migrant Mother taken in 1936 during the Great Depression, but it was her later work in the Japanese internment camps that got my attention. An independent portrait photographer, she hired herself out to the U.S. government when times got rough, to document living conditions for migrants that officials in Washington DC had no way of knowing. They both appreciated her talent 3.5 stars and my thanks to LibraryThing.com for the advanced copy.Photographer Dorothea Lange's most famous work is probably Migrant Mother taken in 1936 during the Great Depression, but it was her later work in the Japanese internment camps that got my attention. An independent portrait photographer, she hired herself out to the U.S. government when times got rough, to document living conditions for migrants that officials in Washington DC had no way of knowing. They both appreciated her talent and regretted her perseverance. She wanted to show too much of the real truth, while the government thought some things were better left unknown. Once she began working at the internment camps, she discovered illegal practices and deplorable living conditions (people expected to live inside a horse stall, for one); and she would not be quiet or accepting of it like so many others were at that time. She had many of her negatives impounded, destroyed, and even now most exist only in the National Archives.Her career enveloped her two marriages and made it impossible to care for her two sons at times, not without tremendous cost. Some of her decisions were questionable, but then I wasn't there during those war and poverty years, so cannot judge too harshly. One of her sons was unforgiving for many years.This was good once it got into the meat of the story about halfway through. The background and the build up were long, perhaps to facilitate the character development of Dorothea and her artist husband Maynard Dixon, of whom I knew nothing. The second half is definitely better than the first, so don't give up on it. The ARC ends with some great supplemental material, including an interview with the author and some of Lange's photos. This added much to my enjoyment.
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  • Chrissie
    January 1, 1970
    Learning to See by Elise Hooper is a book of historical fiction about the Dorothea Lange (1895 – 1965) famed for her photos of migrant workers and the poor taken during the years of the Depression. Later she came to document the plight of Japanese-Americans confined to Resettlement Camps during the Second Word War. You know the saying—a picture speaks a thousand words. Her photos, capturing the humanity of those who have nothing, actually do succeed in doing this. The book chronicles her life fr Learning to See by Elise Hooper is a book of historical fiction about the Dorothea Lange (1895 – 1965) famed for her photos of migrant workers and the poor taken during the years of the Depression. Later she came to document the plight of Japanese-Americans confined to Resettlement Camps during the Second Word War. You know the saying—a picture speaks a thousand words. Her photos, capturing the humanity of those who have nothing, actually do succeed in doing this. The book chronicles her life from her early twenties through to the year before her death.It is basically in chronological order but with a few flips to 1964, when she is an elderly woman looking back at her life.I learned things about her life that I did not know before picking up the book. I was unaware of the fact that she discarded her father’s name (Nutzhorn) and took her mother’s instead, and I learned why. She was the second wife of Maynard Dixon (1875 – 1946), the artist so well known for his paintings of the American West. That she later came to marry an economist who adored her and supported her endeavors is something you might not expect. She came to raise her own two children and his three, and do not forget her job and the health problems she had to cope with! She had difficulty accepting her limp caused by polio at seven, was haunted by her father having deserted her and her family when she was twelve and was responsible for five kids and had a demanding job. Is it so strange that she came to have ulcers? Neither did she and her eldest son, Dan, see eye to eye. She had to make choices in her life that were very difficult. She says to Dan, “I don’t regret my choices, but I am sorry I hurt you.” There is interesting content, but there also remain holes in the information provided. The second half of the book drew me in much more than the first half. The first half drags and reads as a teenage romance novel. In the second half events fly by at a fast clip, the problem here being that the speed is so fast that one looks for more depth. For example, you never come to understand what made it possible for her and Dan to get over the rift that had arisen between them. The rift is surmounted but we do not see what events led to this change. Interesting questions concerning the moral dilemmas she faced arise in the second half of the book.The writing is ordinary. There is no special flair whatsoever.There is an author’s note at the end. It is insufficient. We are told that the author has stuck to the basic truth but that parts have been compressed and some of the characters are composite figures. Why aren’t we told which?The book has piqued my interest and it has made me want to find another book, a book of non-fiction about Dorothea Lange. I don’t feel I have really come to understand who this woman was; I only have a sketch of portions of her life; I am left wanting more.Cassandra Campbell narrates the audiobook. Her performance I have given three stars. I don’t think her intonation properly captures Dorothea’s feistiness. She sounds too sweet. Some words are mumbled, but on the whole the book is easy to follow.*******************Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits 5 starsMary Coin 3 stars
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    I had never heard about Dorothea Lange before I read this book, but the blurb intrigued me. I love reading about women who were brave enough to follow their dreams and LEARNING TO SEE is definitely a book that is worth reading.READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!
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  • Asheley
    January 1, 1970
    I really loved this book!4.5/5It's so, so funny how life works out sometimes. When I was in high school, my AP US History teacher of all time (my favorite teacher of all time) often started class by showing us iconic images and then facilitated critical thinking discussions about what we were seeing, what may have led the photographer to take the photo, etc etc. He used many of Dorothea Lange's photographs and they have been cemented in my brain throughout my life, which led me to do the same th I really loved this book!4.5/5It's so, so funny how life works out sometimes. When I was in high school, my AP US History teacher of all time (my favorite teacher of all time) often started class by showing us iconic images and then facilitated critical thinking discussions about what we were seeing, what may have led the photographer to take the photo, etc etc. He used many of Dorothea Lange's photographs and they have been cemented in my brain throughout my life, which led me to do the same thing with my own high school-aged kids in our homeschool. We discuss the importance of images, not only to preserve the real history of the time for us to see for ourselves, but also as potential forms of subversion and protest and speaking out.I never could have foreseen that years later, a book like Learning To See by Elise Hooper would enter my bookish life! I've been a huge fan of Dorothea Lange's work for years-learning from it, using it to educate my children-so when I got the chance to read and review this book, I leaped upon it, Olympic-style. I have also read and loved Ms. Hooper's previous book, The Last Alcott, so I had all ideas that I would love this one too. And I did.The book begins when Dorothea Lange moved to San Francisco in the early 1900's. She lived among other artists and photographers, so she was really fortunate to be present in a place where she could blossom as an artist herself. She was ambitious for a woman during that time in America's history, when women were most often still staying at home, married and raising families. She got her beginning as a portrait photographer and was really successful at that, but she was more fulfilled when she was out among the people, roaming around, taking the pictures that told the stories of what life was really like out in America for people that didn't have a voice, particularly the folks trying to find work during the Dust Bowl-era and Japanese Americans that had been relocated during the Second World War. Her work was noticed, and I mean noticed-some of it was actually censored because of the truth she exposes.Not only do I love the actual historical significance of Lange's work in this narrative, I love what Ms. Hooper has shared with us about her life. Dorothea Lange lived during a time when women had expectations and roles in terms of marriage and motherhood, and even though she was incredibly driven and successful professionally, she still carried the majority of the parenting duties. In Lange's case, marriage and parenting was particularly difficult. I'm not sure whether or not it would have been any easier had she been married to someone other than a famous artist like Maynard Dixon (whose work is also amazing), but these two had an interesting go of it, to say the least.I feel like it is important to say that this is a work of fiction, but it is well-researched and I feel like I was able to get a good feel not only for Ms. Lange, but for her contemporaries and for the time in which she was living. Speaking of contemporaries, there are so many cool people mentioned in this book. So many people that Ms. Lange crossed paths with and communicated with-I think that's one of the neater parts about her story. There is a part involving John Steinbeck and his incredible novel The Grapes of Wrath that sticks out in my mind LIKE WHOA because it is my top-favorite classic novel. I read this part three times and feel like I want to do a little bit more research on this! Certainly with the subject matter of many of Ms. Lange's photos and also the subject of The Grapes of Wrath being similar in nature, this interests me greatly. But no spoilers here!I'm just always in awe of women that lived during these times when their roles were so defined with so little wiggle-room and yet are able to be so successful, driven, and productive. Ms. Lange contributed so much to society and history, and we are still able to benefit from her work-perhaps more than ever before-and I'm just a huge, huge fan of her work. And this book.I highly, highly recommend Learning To See by Elise Hooper for people that enjoy reading stories about women in history, stories about art, stories about the Depression-era or the Dust Bowl-era or even the period of time surrounding the Second World War. Even though this book isn't really about the war itself, Lange's work and what she experienced when she was out working helps to paint a picture of what the landscape of America was like during that time. Dorothea Lange is a flat-out icon and holy batman, this story is just really, really excellent.I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Thank you, William Morrow Books!Find this review and more like it on my blog, Into the Hall of Books!
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  • KC
    January 1, 1970
    In 1918, photographer Dorothea Lange leaves NYC and heads to San Francisco, eager to make a name for herself. She soon meets and falls in love with Maynard Dixon, an extremely capacious natured painter. Throughout her time there, she meets fellow artists like Frida Kahlo, writers and numerous talents. Faced with the relenting desire with trying to capture the true picture of the times, she find herself struggling between work, marriage and motherhood. This fascinating tale is for fans of Marie B In 1918, photographer Dorothea Lange leaves NYC and heads to San Francisco, eager to make a name for herself. She soon meets and falls in love with Maynard Dixon, an extremely capacious natured painter. Throughout her time there, she meets fellow artists like Frida Kahlo, writers and numerous talents. Faced with the relenting desire with trying to capture the true picture of the times, she find herself struggling between work, marriage and motherhood. This fascinating tale is for fans of Marie Benedict and Fiona Davis.
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  • Gabriella | The Novel Nook
    January 1, 1970
    A massive thank you to Elise Hooper and William Morrow for my ARC of LEARNING TO SEE! This novel tells the story of photographer Dorothea Lange, a woman I knew very little about, and I absolutely loved learning about her! This story is so beautifully written, full of historical detail and engaging characters and environments, all as real and vivid as Dorothea’s photographs (some of which are included at the end of the novel, which I appreciated SO much). Dorothea Lange was such a driven and insp A massive thank you to Elise Hooper and William Morrow for my ARC of LEARNING TO SEE! This novel tells the story of photographer Dorothea Lange, a woman I knew very little about, and I absolutely loved learning about her! This story is so beautifully written, full of historical detail and engaging characters and environments, all as real and vivid as Dorothea’s photographs (some of which are included at the end of the novel, which I appreciated SO much). Dorothea Lange was such a driven and inspiring woman, and I loved getting to know her and meeting the artists, creators, and other famous people who surrounded her throughout her life (Imogen Cunningham, Maynard Dixon, and Frida Khalo, to name a very few). I thoroughly enjoyed this work and highly recommend it!
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  • Chanel Cleeton
    January 1, 1970
    A powerful and timely view of America told through the lens of Dorothea Lange, a fascinating woman whose photographs shone a light on the nation's forgotten and abandoned. Learning to See is both a sweeping portrayal of the effects of the Great Depression and World War II and an intimate look at Lange's relationships, advocacy, and photography. Detailed and thoroughly immersive, Learning to See grips the reader and highlights an important period in American history.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    I knew the photography of Dorothea Lange but little about her personal life so I was glad to be given the opportunity to readLearning to See by Elise Hooper.Hooper's novel offers an accessible narrative of Lange's life from her point of view. Lange's childhood polio left her with a limp from a deformed foot. She established a successful portrait photography career until the Depression when her work dwindled. With two children and an artist husband, Lange had to give up her studio to work for the I knew the photography of Dorothea Lange but little about her personal life so I was glad to be given the opportunity to readLearning to See by Elise Hooper.Hooper's novel offers an accessible narrative of Lange's life from her point of view. Lange's childhood polio left her with a limp from a deformed foot. She established a successful portrait photography career until the Depression when her work dwindled. With two children and an artist husband, Lange had to give up her studio to work for the Farm Security Administration.Using her portrait experience, Lange created iconic photographs that recorded the devastation of the Dust Bowl and the misery of farm migrants. During WWII she was employed by the Office of War Information to document the internment of Japanese Americans.Through Lange's eyes, readers experience the human suffering of poverty and systemic racism.Lange's marriage to her first husband, artist Maynard Dixon, was strained. Her extensive traveling meant leaving her sons and the book addresses her son's anger and acting out. While photographing for the OWI she worked with Paul Taylor who became her second husband.Famous photographers appear in the story's background, including Ansel Adams.The novel is "inspired" by Lange's life. Hooper offers a woman filled with doubts and remorse while facing up to the authorities who repress the photographs that too honestly recorded atrocities and the forgotten.Lange's life as an artist and a woman will enthrall readers.I received a free ebook from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and unbiased review
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  • Erika Robuck
    January 1, 1970
    Elise Hooper is a writer whose talents at clarity and empathy bring out the humanity of her historical subjects. Like her debut novel, THE OTHER ALCOTT, Hooper’s LEARNING TO SEE is an intimate portrait of one of history’s great, shadowed, female artists, photographer Dorothea Lange.Most readers will be able to draw to mind the iconic Depression-era image of the poor, exhausted mother–gaze toward an uncertain future–flanked by dirty children. LEARNING TO SEE tells the journey of the woman who cap Elise Hooper is a writer whose talents at clarity and empathy bring out the humanity of her historical subjects. Like her debut novel, THE OTHER ALCOTT, Hooper’s LEARNING TO SEE is an intimate portrait of one of history’s great, shadowed, female artists, photographer Dorothea Lange.Most readers will be able to draw to mind the iconic Depression-era image of the poor, exhausted mother–gaze toward an uncertain future–flanked by dirty children. LEARNING TO SEE tells the journey of the woman who captured that image and hundreds like it. We see a girl of courage and spunk become a life-hardened woman of integrity and fire. The images Lange captures through her lens inform her growth, her choices, and the American public.Hooper deftly balances the fascinating historical fabric of the novel with the personal life of its complicated protagonist. What results is a vivid and deep story that will send the reader to the internet seeking more.Fans of Dawn Tripp’s GEORGIA and Depression to WWII-era historical fiction will be enthralled by Elise Hooper’s LEARNING TO SEE. I give it my highest recommendation.
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  • Carol (Reading Ladies)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars Thanks to #WilliamMorrow #HarperCollins for my free copy of #LearningtoSee by Elise Hooper in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own."It takes a lot of practice to see things are they are, not as you want them to be." (P 121)Learning to See is a fictionalized biography inspired by real life photographer, Dorothea Lange. We first meet twenty-two year old Dorothea in 1918 as she arrives in San Francisco with her best friend. Through wit and a determination to create her o 4.5 stars Thanks to #WilliamMorrow #HarperCollins for my free copy of #LearningtoSee by Elise Hooper in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own."It takes a lot of practice to see things are they are, not as you want them to be." (P 121)Learning to See is a fictionalized biography inspired by real life photographer, Dorothea Lange. We first meet twenty-two year old Dorothea in 1918 as she arrives in San Francisco with her best friend. Through wit and a determination to create her own life far from her home in the Northeast, Dorothea takes a risk to open a portrait studio and marries an older independent artist, Maynard Dixon. Dorothea's portrait studio is well established and provides a steady and dependable income for their growing family of two children when the economy collapses in the 1930s. This puts tremendous strain on an already fragile marriage and Dorothea desperately seeks out ways to support her two young sons and a drunken, disillusioned, and out-of-work husband. As Dorothea's portrait business suffers in the economy, she begins to take pictures of the poor and desperate people on the streets of San Francisco. In addition, she travels throughout California and the Southwest documenting labor conditions on farms, and she gradually realizes that these pictures are more meaningful than what she produces in her portrait studio because her pictures from the streets and fields are telling a true story of the economic hardships that people are facing. Later, the United States enters WW11 and Dorothea accepts jobs photographing the internment camps into which the Japanese have been placed. Not everyone appreciates seeing the truth of these pictures and she is censored, threatened, and discouraged. This doesn't deter Dorothea from her travels, her photographs, or her purpose. There's a dual timeline running through the story which allows the reader to know Dorothea at the end of her life. The extensive research that went into the telling of this story is evident. Not only is there an abundance of historical facts and descriptive details which enable readers to feel like they are experiencing life in the 20s, 30s, and 40s, but the author also puts a great deal of effort and thought into building a case for the possible motives that inspire Dorothea to take certain actions. I had a difficult time accepting the decision Dorothea made for the care of her children, but the details in the story left me with a reasonable ability to understand Dorothea's actions. Certainly, some important themes include the plight of working mothers in that time, the hardships of the depression, marriage to someone that is not a full or dependable partner, loyal friendship and support from other women, making difficult decisions to follow your dreams/passions and accepting the consequences of that decision, taking risks, the effects of childhood experiences on adults, and character traits of pioneers. Dorothea Lange is remembered today for her photography work and her indomitable spirit. I think you'll enjoy the historical setting and this imagined story of her life behind the facts. Throughout the story, the title of Learning to See takes on multiple meanings. As an artist, Dorothea is not afraid to photograph what she actually sees and not what others want or expect to see. As a mother and wife, Dorothea sees (or intuits) the emotional help her troubled son needs, and she also sees the truth of her marriage to Maynard. Dorothea sees injustice and has a vision for meaningful work, and she is willing to take the risks to follow her passion despite the sacrifices. She is not afraid of hard work or activism, and perseveres in spite of obstacles. "I was a photographer of people--men, women, and children who worked, suffered, rested, and loved. .... I lived for the moment when time slowed, when I could capture an expression or gesture that communicated everything. I needed more of those moments. If I was going to give up my family, every second needed to count. The sacrifice had to be worth something bigger than me." (p 179)I love stories of real women, and even though Dorothea might not be the most well liked character, I'm highly recommending Learning to See for fans of well written and extensively researched historical fiction, for readers who are looking for a story of a strong, independent, and pioneering woman, and for those who want an engaging page turner. Learning to See is nicely paced with well drawn characters, and some readers might want to know that it includes some romantic details. It would make a good book club selection because of interesting discussion topics.Pub Date: January 22, 2019For more reviews visit my blog readingladies.com
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  • Kate Olson
    January 1, 1970
    MASTERFULI count the author as one of my bookish friends and I’m so grateful she entrusted me with review copies of her novels ❤.Her first title THE OTHER ALCOTT was a natural hit for me given the subject matter ~ Louisa May Alcott’s sister, Amy. However, I had never even HEARD of Dorothea Lange before reading LEARNING TO SEE and now I’m absolutely obsessed with this groundbreaking photographer. Hooper writes historical fiction about fascinating women and does what so many other writers avoid ~ MASTERFULI count the author as one of my bookish friends and I’m so grateful she entrusted me with review copies of her novels ❤️.Her first title THE OTHER ALCOTT was a natural hit for me given the subject matter ~ Louisa May Alcott’s sister, Amy. However, I had never even HEARD of Dorothea Lange before reading LEARNING TO SEE and now I’m absolutely obsessed with this groundbreaking photographer. Hooper writes historical fiction about fascinating women and does what so many other writers avoid ~ writing the REAL woman. Not a romantic fluffy version. And that is everything to me..I’ll (probably) share a more in-depth review of LEARNING TO SEE closer to the 1.22.19 pub date, but for now just know it’s fabulous, fascinating and an intense look at United States in the 1920s - 1940s. Covering the Great Depression and internment of Japanese Americans, it taught me so much. 5 feminist stars!.If you read this genre, pre-order or request from your library now! And you can read THE OTHER ALCOTT while you wait.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    I received a giveaway copy from goodreads for a review. This book is about Dorthea Lange. although it is based on a real life person the author writes a book of fiction about the real Dorthea Lange. she imagines by collecting facts about the photographer what her life may have been like. Dorthea Lange was a prize winning photographer. Her most famous pictures were from the depression era, the dustbowl migrants and in the forties when she visited internment camps that housed the Japenese citizens I received a giveaway copy from goodreads for a review. This book is about Dorthea Lange. although it is based on a real life person the author writes a book of fiction about the real Dorthea Lange. she imagines by collecting facts about the photographer what her life may have been like. Dorthea Lange was a prize winning photographer. Her most famous pictures were from the depression era, the dustbowl migrants and in the forties when she visited internment camps that housed the Japenese citizens. Dorthea Lange was famous for her pictures because she managed to catch people in their situations that opened up for conversations. The author includes some of dorthea's more famous pictures. I found the book an interesting one to read.
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  • Homeschoolmama
    January 1, 1970
    I remember years ago seeing Dorothea Lange's famous photograph Migrant Mother.http://100photos.time.com/photos/doro... It always brought wonder to me, seeing this image of a woman sitting with her children, hand to her face, looking forlorn, world-weary, bedraggled. I'd not heard much about the photographer until recently. Learning to See is Elise Hooper's fictionalized account of Dorothea Lange's life, though it seems more like an actual biography. She based her story on documents, diaries, a I remember years ago seeing Dorothea Lange's famous photograph Migrant Mother.http://100photos.time.com/photos/doro... It always brought wonder to me, seeing this image of a woman sitting with her children, hand to her face, looking forlorn, world-weary, bedraggled. I'd not heard much about the photographer until recently. Learning to See is Elise Hooper's fictionalized account of Dorothea Lange's life, though it seems more like an actual biography. She based her story on documents, diaries, and documentaries. Some of the details were undoubtedly changed, but that is often the case with memoirs and biographies. Dorothea Lange was an interesting person to write about. She was a woman ahead of her time, who ventured out in a field dominated by men. As a young woman in her early twenties, she traveled with a friend to San Fransisco, only to find herself stranded without money or family , and made a way for herself. She opened her own portrait studio. She married twice, had two children, and traveled to different areas to capture photos of people. Lange wanted above all to expose truth. She saw herself as an activist-Her photos were her way of showing what was really going on in the far corners of the world. And so she snapped candids of migrants, of Japanese families in internment camps, of soldiers, children.Hooper does a great job of telling Lange's story. It's almost as if she interviewed Lange herself. I liked the way Hooper included imagined dialogues, between Lange and her husband, her friends and her sons. She doesn't insert any moral judgments either.At the end of this particular edition, an ARC, there is an afterword which summarizes briefly the end of Lange's life. There is also an interview with Hooper, a note on her sources, a reading group guide and some of Lange's photos. Delightful read. I'm curious to learn more about this remarkable woman and her art.So far this is very good! Received an ARC from librarything. Looking forward to reading this.
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  • Meredith Jaeger
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful portrait of the life and activism of Dorothea Lange. San Francisco during Lange's early career in the 1920s is particularly vivid. I learned so much more about Lange and her Depression Era photography than I already knew from the famous portrait Migrant Mother. A wonderful book for fans of historical fiction, strong female protagonists and book clubs. Highly recommended!
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  • Meg - A Bookish Affair
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars. "Learning to See" is a fictionalized story of great American photographer Dorothea Lange. Even if you don't think you know her name, you probably know her work. She is best known for some of the work that she did capturing people in difficult circumstances during the early to mid part of the 20th century. This book gives a great picture of what Lange was like behind the scenes. Well-researched, this book has so much good detail. We get to see how Dorothea goes from a fledgling photogr 4.5 stars. "Learning to See" is a fictionalized story of great American photographer Dorothea Lange. Even if you don't think you know her name, you probably know her work. She is best known for some of the work that she did capturing people in difficult circumstances during the early to mid part of the 20th century. This book gives a great picture of what Lange was like behind the scenes. Well-researched, this book has so much good detail. We get to see how Dorothea goes from a fledgling photographer to a very sought after photographer, well known for her work. As she is starting her career, she meets the volatile artist Maynard Dixon and starts a family. I really appreciated her meditations on the difficulty of having a successful career (especially during a time where this was just not something a woman did) and balancing it with a family. Dorothea feels pulled in a million different directions and wants to find a way to make it all work.I really liked the writing in this book. The descriptions are wonderful. We get to see the action through Dorothea's eyes, which I thought was super effective in pulling me far into the book. This is a little hard to explain but I thought the author did a really good job of moving us through the highlights (and lowlights) of Dorothea's career and her personal life. Lange feels more like a friend. I loved getting to know the back story behind some of her most iconic work. This book is a great tribute to her!
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  • Amy (TheSouthernGirlReads)
    January 1, 1970
    For me the need to research when I finish a book based on a real life person is a testament to an amazing book. Learning to See did that for me. When I closed the book. I needed more. Wiki to the rescue...I was able to immerse myself in the life of Dorothea Lange even more. I loved this book. Elise is an amazing storyteller. The amount of research is absolutely staggering.✨I love historical fiction. It is a genre I hold close. The way Elise writes...based on true events is quite possibly my favo For me the need to research when I finish a book based on a real life person is a testament to an amazing book. Learning to See did that for me. When I closed the book. I needed more. Wiki to the rescue...I was able to immerse myself in the life of Dorothea Lange even more. I loved this book. Elise is an amazing storyteller. The amount of research is absolutely staggering.✨I love historical fiction. It is a genre I hold close. The way Elise writes...based on true events is quite possibly my favorite. I have a story saved in my highlights on Instagram about the book specifically...watch it. In the meantime. Put this book on your TBR for January 22. If you are a historical fiction fan, you will not be disappointed. If you want to read something she has out now...read The Other Alcott.
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    An account of the life of Dorothea Lange which touches only briefly on her most famous photograph, Migrant Mother. Instead, Dorothea is personalized as a wife and mother, supporting her husbands emotionally and financially.I read this EARC courtesy of Wm. Morrow and Edelweiss. Pub date 01/22/19
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  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting read about the life of the woman behind the iconic photographs.
  • Cortney Walton
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely fascinating. I want to know more. 💜
  • Lisa Duffy
    January 1, 1970
    Gorgeously written with exquisite historical detail, Learning to See is a fascinating tale of one remarkable woman’s life. Told with the same precise prose and terrific nuance as her stunning debut, The Other Alcott, Elise Hooper proves once again that she’s a masterful storyteller.
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  • Jan Priddy
    January 1, 1970
    No. Not worthwhile. The author seems less familiar with her subject than with what she wants to make of her subject. I do not believe the subject is accurately portrayed in her thinking and reasoning, the objects of her fretting and fussing did not ring true. The story is novelized—that is, the author tells a story about real people as if she were inside their head and aware of motivation and emotion. One reader labeled it "historical-fiction." The portrayal seemed an amalgam of several women ph No. Not worthwhile. The author seems less familiar with her subject than with what she wants to make of her subject. I do not believe the subject is accurately portrayed in her thinking and reasoning, the objects of her fretting and fussing did not ring true. The story is novelized—that is, the author tells a story about real people as if she were inside their head and aware of motivation and emotion. One reader labeled it "historical-fiction." The portrayal seemed an amalgam of several women photographers of the period, notably Berenice Abbott. Portraying the interior life of any artist is fraught with risks. The most common mistake I find is writers assuming what the artist would notice. A musician literally notes the key in which a bird sings. A photographer notices light, always light—the direction, the hue, the fall of shadow. None of this is captured. The character thinks about clothing but does not notice the play of sunlight on a beloved's cheek. Dorothea Lange was a great photographer and a great American. She deserves letter. (There are, in fact, other more respectful and accurate bios around.)I was certain I'd written a review, but it is not here. Perhaps that is why I did not post a review immediately, not wanting to trash someone's hard work? I thank the publisher for a free, early copy in return for my honest review.
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  • Janelle • She Reads with Cats
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you so much to TLC Book Tours, William Morrow Books, and the author for my free copy of LEARNING TO SEE -Historical or biographical fiction - whatever you want to call it - this one was done well with an impressive amount of research. I enjoy reading about artists and their choices especially when it comes to writers and photographers so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book.In 1918, twenty-two-year-old Dorothea Nutzhorn moved to San Francisco to make a life for herself. She opened Thank you so much to TLC Book Tours, William Morrow Books, and the author for my free copy of LEARNING TO SEE -Historical or biographical fiction - whatever you want to call it - this one was done well with an impressive amount of research. I enjoy reading about artists and their choices especially when it comes to writers and photographers so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book.In 1918, twenty-two-year-old Dorothea Nutzhorn moved to San Francisco to make a life for herself. She opened a successful portrait studio, changed her name to Lange, fell in love with the capricious painter Maynard Dixon, they got married, and had two children. When her marriage splintered and the economy collapsed, she opted to take her work outside to travel around California to capture the dire conditions of migrant workers and the homeless. She became a humanitarian, an advocate, and humanized the people she photographed. When WW2 started, she documented the interment of Japanese Americans and the horrific conditions they were subjected to. She sacrificed for others and her photographs are still important to this day.Dorothea Lange is someone I’d briefly heard of but really knew nothing about. I had no idea she was such an advocate during the 1930’s and 40’s. Her story comes to life on the pages and shows us the human being behind the iconic photos. Hooper put her heart and soul in this novel and it shows with flying colors!
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  • Jenni Walsh
    January 1, 1970
    One of the reasons why I enjoy fictional memoirs is because I often find parallels or a certain level of relativism, even in a different person's life, place, and time. This familiarity and plausible storyline often draws me in. And, Dorothea Lange's storyline definitely drew me in. I knew very little about her when I began Elise Hooper's sophomore novel, but I felt a kinship while reading. The following surfaced as my favorite line/sentiment from the uncorrected galley: "The prospect of not cha One of the reasons why I enjoy fictional memoirs is because I often find parallels or a certain level of relativism, even in a different person's life, place, and time. This familiarity and plausible storyline often draws me in. And, Dorothea Lange's storyline definitely drew me in. I knew very little about her when I began Elise Hooper's sophomore novel, but I felt a kinship while reading. The following surfaced as my favorite line/sentiment from the uncorrected galley: "The prospect of not challenging myself creatively left me desolate, yet ambition felt like a curse." Dorothea was determined, independent, compassionate, and passionate. I'm glad I now better know her place in history, told through Elise Hoopers well-crafted words. For all those historical fiction fans out there, this is a must read!
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  • Kim McGee
    January 1, 1970
    Dorothea Lange, the famous photographer, was lucky her money got stolen that day and she and her friend ended up staying in San Francisco. She went from starting as a portrait photographer to pay the rent to become one of this country's leading artistic activists of the Depression Era and beyond. She wasn't the greatest wife, mother or possible friend but she made up for it in her determination to show the world the injustice in front of them through her stark photos. This is a riveting portrait Dorothea Lange, the famous photographer, was lucky her money got stolen that day and she and her friend ended up staying in San Francisco. She went from starting as a portrait photographer to pay the rent to become one of this country's leading artistic activists of the Depression Era and beyond. She wasn't the greatest wife, mother or possible friend but she made up for it in her determination to show the world the injustice in front of them through her stark photos. This is a riveting portrait of a woman ahead of her time, who refused to sit by and make pretty pictures when the poor and ill-treated had nowhere to turn and no one to speak for them. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
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  • Lorri
    January 1, 1970
    Learning to See, by Elise Hooper is a book that transported me back to post WWII, and the events that defined America's poverty stricken citizens. From Dorothea Lange's photographic documentation of that era in time, we see her move forward, through the decades and her involvement in WWII, and the suffering of the Japanese who are imprisoned in internment camps.She was a woman before her time, a woman who fought for social justice for everyone, no matter their background. Her steadfast concentra Learning to See, by Elise Hooper is a book that transported me back to post WWII, and the events that defined America's poverty stricken citizens. From Dorothea Lange's photographic documentation of that era in time, we see her move forward, through the decades and her involvement in WWII, and the suffering of the Japanese who are imprisoned in internment camps.She was a woman before her time, a woman who fought for social justice for everyone, no matter their background. Her steadfast concentration and devotion to humane causes can not be overlooked.I enjoyed the historical aspect of the story line.I was given a LibraryThing Early Reviewers copy of this book.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but I've always been intrigued by Dorothea Lange and her photographs, especially the most famous one known as "Migrant Mother." This is a fictionalized account of her life, which was extensively researched by author Elise Hooper.Dorothea had polio as a child and was left with a limp. Her father left the family when she was young, and despite a good relationship with him before that, he disappeared from her life completely, and she felt that it was someho I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but I've always been intrigued by Dorothea Lange and her photographs, especially the most famous one known as "Migrant Mother." This is a fictionalized account of her life, which was extensively researched by author Elise Hooper.Dorothea had polio as a child and was left with a limp. Her father left the family when she was young, and despite a good relationship with him before that, he disappeared from her life completely, and she felt that it was somehow her fault.As young adults, Dorothea and her friend set off for a trip to see some of the world when their money is stolen. Determined to make the best of the situation, they decide to stay in California and get jobs; Dorothea has worked in a photography studio before and she finds the means to eventually open her own. She meets artist Maynard Dixon. They marry and soon have two sons. They each enjoy success, until the Great Depression. Dixon's jobs mostly dry up, but Dorothea's photography studio continues to be support them, at least for awhile. They end up fostering out their sons and take to the road in search of more work. However Dixon's drinking and affairs cause problems, and eventually Dorothea is on her own, photographing the migration of destitute families in search of a better life. Her photographs get national attention and help bring aid to those in need. Unfortunately, later on when she photographs the Japanese Americans who were ordered to detention facilities after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, she is censored and her photographs are impounded. An interesting look into the life of a photographer whose photos are familiar to many of us more than 70 later.
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  • Susy
    January 1, 1970
    I found this historical fiction account of Dorothea Lange's life as a photo journalist (before the term was created I suspect) fascinating. She arrived in San Francisco en route to a planned world tour only to have those plans cancelled when her travel funds were stolen. She uses her portrait photography skills to earn a living and falls in with an artistic group of photographers but establishes herself during the Great Depression as she travels California to tell the story of hardship with a ca I found this historical fiction account of Dorothea Lange's life as a photo journalist (before the term was created I suspect) fascinating. She arrived in San Francisco en route to a planned world tour only to have those plans cancelled when her travel funds were stolen. She uses her portrait photography skills to earn a living and falls in with an artistic group of photographers but establishes herself during the Great Depression as she travels California to tell the story of hardship with a camera lens. I recognized her name but had no idea about her unlimited energy as she struggled to care for her sons and husband while traveling the length of California and beyond to share with the country such hardship A bonus for me was the description of San Francisco and the Bay Area during this time period. My father moved to the city in the late 1930s to work at the Chronicle; I wonder if their paths ever crossed. This was a fast paced and insightful story about the travails and success of a working mother. Interesting that some things haven't changed.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 *s. Elise Hooper is quickly becoming one of my favorite historic fiction authors. In this book and her previous, The Other Alcott, she takes a historic figure and with an enormous amount of research builds a story around them..This novel is about Dorothea Lange, a photographer who exposed the many social injustices occurring during The Great Depression and World War II. It depicts the struggle of an ambitious woman trying to support her two children at the same as confronting the inhumanitie 4.5 *s. Elise Hooper is quickly becoming one of my favorite historic fiction authors. In this book and her previous, The Other Alcott, she takes a historic figure and with an enormous amount of research builds a story around them..This novel is about Dorothea Lange, a photographer who exposed the many social injustices occurring during The Great Depression and World War II. It depicts the struggle of an ambitious woman trying to support her two children at the same as confronting the inhumanities of this difficult time period. She is forced to make difficult decisions as a wife and mother..I will pick up anything Elise writes. Her novels are incredibly readable and I trust them to be backed by thorough research.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    I went into this book with a little knowledge of Dorothea Lange, but I come out of it with so much more insight into her work and life. Elise Hooper brings the famed photographer to life and I could imagine walking the streets of San Francisco and Oakland during the Great Depression and World War II. I'm very eager to read Hooper's other book.
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