Monday, September 3, 2007

Nathan, Jean Elson. The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll: The Search for Dare Wright. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2004.

Last week I finished the most haunting book I'll read this year, The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll, a biography of mysterious photographer and children's book author Dare Wright.

Dare created art to survive, to make sense of a world both enticing and terrifying to her. Using fairy-tale and childhood imagery, Dare explored "living in the world" in each of her books, as well as in her personal photographic portraits.

I'm uncertain whether I read Dare's most famous book, The Lonely Doll, as a child. Despite lack of foreknowledge I found Dare's own story arresting (albeit upsetting and sad, too). I'm certain I'll be thinking about her story and her approach to art-making for a long time to come.

UPDATE: In 2008, a film based on the life of Dare Wright begins production, with Julian Schnabel in the director's chair.

Link to Powell's listing for The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll


  1. I'm currently reading this book and can't stop thinking about it. The writing is a little deliberate for my tastes, but the story makes up for that.

    Your blog looks great and I enjoy your writing style--nice work!

  2. Thanks for the compliment, my dear. As for the book, I suppose the narrative is a bit drawn out and maybe longer than it needs to be. Perhaps that's a result of journalistic writing based upon scanty details?