The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll

The Search for Dare Wright

by Jean Nathan

The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll

Hardcover, 308 pages, Henry Holt & Co, List Price: $25 | purchase

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Book Summary

Traces the life of the author of the children's classic, "The Lonely Doll," recounts her work in modeling and photography, the loss of her brother in childhood, her ill-fated marriage plans, and the influence of her controlling mother.

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Excerpt: The Secret Life Of The Lonely Doll

The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll

From The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll:
Mostly, when Edie had to be out in the world, Dare was left at home alone. There, she learned to find comfort and companionship in her books and her dolls, and to fire up her imagination. If Dare's first dolls were improvisational, homemade, the books Edie bought Dare when she was feeling flush were the real thing. The first two she purchased were a collection of Grimm's fairy tales and a picture book called The Lovely Garden, the story of the much-beloved Princess Yolande who lives on the Island of Can-be-done, whose "sweet smile seemed to say: 'What am I here for if it is not to make others happier?'" The book's message was reminiscent of her mother's inscriptions on the backs of her portraits-"To my Good and Precious Daughter"-directives on how to act and so meet the conditions of Edie's love. But the mechanics of fairy tales carried a message, too. If princesses could be put to sleep and awaken unharmed, perhaps fathers and brothers could also. If princesses could escape punishing circumstances, perhaps Dare could, too.

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