What I’ve been reading…..

  Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

 In her sixth novel Vreeland tells the story of the life behind a famous artistic creation–in this case    the Tiffany leaded-glass lamp.  Clara Driscoll was a major creative force at Louis Tiffany’s Glass and Decorating Company.  This was separate from the jewelry company, run by his father Charles.  Some art historians now believe that it was Clara, unacknowledged in her lifetime, who conceived the lampshades.  From 1892 to 1908, she oversaw the Women’s Department, where  many of her workers were from poor immigrant families and still in their teens.  Poor living conditions in the lower East Side, abusive relationships, and no respect in the workplace from most of the male workers made for a harsh life.  Clara struggles with her desire for artistic recognition and the challenges that she faces as a professional woman.   She also yearns for love and companionship, and is devoted to Tiffany, who enforces a strict policy: he does not hire married women, and any who do marry while under his employ must resign immediately. Eventually you come to realize that Clara is merely the woman-behind-the-man and Tiffany certainly doesn’t deserve her devotion.  In the end he sides with the male workforce, showing his weak character.  Eventually, like many women, Clara must decide what makes her happiest—the professional world of her hands or the personal world of her heart.

Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

What I’ve been reading…..

In Left Neglected by Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice, we read the story of a young couple who seems to have it all….great jobs, a nice home in an affluent suburb of Boston, three kids who need to be shuttled to various activities, the vacation home in the mountains.  And yet Sarah and her husband Bob have only time in the morning for a good-bye peck as their day hurtles off into overdrive.  Fortunately, or not, Sarah is an overachieving multitasker which ultimately is her undoing.  As she attempts to recover from a terrible car accident which results in a brain injury called left neglect, we see deeper into Sarah as a person.  She comes to realize what really is important in her life, like the relationship with her mother, quality time spent with her children and husband, taking a job for less money but doing something that matters.  It’s a good lesson for anyone who chooses to slow down long enough to pay attention.

Published in: on March 2, 2011 at 8:13 pm  Leave a Comment