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What's untold about this story is that Dorothy Binney Putnam was having an affair with a man 20 years younger some time before her publisher husband, George, met, published, and married Amelia Earhart. That takes Dorothy off the hook as an abandoned woman, but fails to answer the question: Does it matter to anyone except her relatives? Chapman is the granddaughter of Dorothy Putnam and the heir to Dorothy's diaries. Excerpts from the diaries set the stage for chapters in her life, from the early 1900s, when Dorothy was a teenager, to 1982, when she died, after surviving four husbands. (Her young lover, George Weymouth, was not one of the husbands.) Dorothy Putnam's home base both as daughter (to the inventor of Crayola crayons) and wife to Putnam was Sound Beach, Conn., where she built a memorable home, served as remarkable hostess, entertaining her husband's authors, and nurtured her children. She sailed with explorer William Beebe but was never able to exploit her adventurous spirit or her other talents—singer and pianist, plus she could whistle like a bird—to achieve on her own. When she finally left Putnam to Earhart, she remarried within a month after her divorce was final and settled in Florida. This husband beat her, the next fled west to Hawaii, and the last—and "best"—died after only four years of marriage. The diary entries that are the basis for this book are brief, almost brusque, and do not display what was apparently Dorothy's considerable charm.
What's here finally is no more than a granddaughter's tribute to a woman who was the ex-wife of the man who married Amelia Earhart.
Posted November 11, 2008
Sally Putnum Chapman takes the diaries of her grandmother and presents the unknown story of love, romances, drama, and how life give back even when it take away. Truly a great read. You not only learn about history, you learn about how other make life in times of trouble and create gifts for future generations. A must read. Joy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.