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Dear Bob, Dear Betty- Love and Marriage During the Great Depression by Elizabeth Catherine Wright

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Teresa's Reading Corner: Dear Bob, Dear Betty- Love and Marriage During the Great Depression by Elizabeth Catherine Wright

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dear Bob, Dear Betty- Love and Marriage During the Great Depression by Elizabeth Catherine Wright

In 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, two young people meet and fall in love.  Llewellyn Wright (Bob), Frank Lloyd Wright's youngest child, whose adolescence was marked by the public scandals surrounding his father's private life, is struggling to begin a private law practice in Chicago.  Elizabeth Kehler (Betty), daughter of a Chicago artist who abandoned the family when she was still in the womb, is working as an intake counselor at the Milwaukee Vocational School.

Their fervent correspondence over a 10-month courtship period is witty, sassy and poignant, as they grapple with their passionate feelings and try to create a financially stable marriage in the midst of the 20th century's most serious economic crisis.

The couple's daughter, a scholar of French literature, has written an Introduction telling their story before and after the courtship.  35  illustrations, extensive footnotes and an Index illuminate the family and social history behind the letters.  - press release provided by the publicist.

My thoughts:

 I was intrigued by this story when I read the description.  I figured how could you go wrong with a book of love letters?  I wasn't disappointed either.  I will admit that it started out on the slow side.  There was a lot of background information given to the reader right up front.  I felt that this would have been more useful had the necessary information been interspersed with the letters.

The letters were fantastic giving the reader a glimpse into the long distance relationship between Bob and Betty.  I don't even think that their relationship would be considered long distance by today's standards as they were only a short train ride apart.  Bob mentions several times in his letters about them being published, I began to wonder if this was a common practice? 

Two thoughts kept running through my mind as I read the book.  The first,  I wonder what my grandchildren would think if they came across the emails that my husband and I exchanged during our courtship or even today?  The second, I really miss my grandmother and wish I would have talked to her more about her youth.  The good news is that I still have my paternal grandmother and I fully intend to talk to her about "Life in the good ol' days."

What do you think?  Is the art of writing letters lost today or has it just taken a different form?  I'd love to hear from you.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the publicist in exchange for my honest review.  Thank you Paula!




At June 5, 2010 at 2:52 PM , Blogger toothy said...

i haven't read a book like this before, but i do have to admit that the idea behind the book sounds very intriguing. i do have a heart for nonfiction so i'm definitely adding this on to my wish list.

i think we've definitely changed from writing letters. now a days it's all about instant messaging and text messages. as much as i love emails because they're so quick and efficient, i also miss being able to hold on to something physical while reading it. i love getting cards and i keep every card i get, but getting an ecard is so different and it just doesn't convey the same message for me.

At June 5, 2010 at 4:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've not heard of this book, but I am fascinated. I love epistolary fiction and I know this is non-fiction, but still....I'm going to have to search for this one. It sounds like something I would really like. Thanks so much for sharing!

My mother was a dedicated correspondent and she also sent many, many, many cards and notes to people all her life. I think we have lost that in this day and age when technology has taken us faster and faster. It's a shame in many ways, but I guess that's progress. :-)

At June 7, 2010 at 7:59 AM , Blogger Juju at Tales of said...

Sounds so romantic and lovely! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

At June 9, 2010 at 4:27 PM , Blogger Teresa said...

I hope that you all enjoy it. Thank you so much for stopping by!

At June 9, 2010 at 7:38 PM , Blogger Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

This book sounds lovely -- I do love books of letters. I wish that letters weren't disappearing because I love getting things not in snail mail, but I don't send letters that often.


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