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Eight Girls Taking Pictures By Whitney Otto
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Eight Girls Taking Pictures By Whitney Otto

A few weeks ago there was a high profile article going viral by and about a woman in an important position describing her bitter experiences which concluded women still can't have it all. Nowadays when there is an openness unprecedented in history regarding women's position in both social and economic areas, the prospect of being able to achieve a fulfilled personal life with family and friends plus a successful career seems at arm's length. But is it really?

Whitney Otto's new book comes just in time to answer our questions about all these, by presenting us with the lives and doubts of the most important female photographers of the 20th century.

Eight Girls Taking Pictures is a novel about (obviously) eight women who try to balance their lives between doing what they love, that is: taking pictures; and maintaining a grip on social or family values. One story would be just one story, but eight present a veritable perspective on what the 20th century and feminism was able to achieve for working women. But don't imagine that this is a dry account of facts and data – Whitney Otto's storytelling talent draws you into the everyday lives of these exceptional women, so different at times, yet so universal in their quest for happiness.

Those of you who read How to Make an American Quilt, the author's best known work, will be delighted to find another novel talking about extraordinary women while describing their daily tasks, secret passions, artistic aspirations – these concepts so widely known to all of us, present in our lives as well, yet never unequivocal or stereotypical, never a yes or no question, but a heartbreaking decision to make every time.

In Otto's world we feel flattered that such interesting people have the same worries as we do, and still feel dazzled by the exotic atmosphere of their lives or the period in which they lived.

Because Eight Girls Taking Pictures isn't the thrilling account of the everyday life of a housewife from the countryside: its heroins are all well known photographers reflecting on their position in society and personal problems. History isn't just a blurred picture in the background, but a factor influencing their thoughts and works in many cases. Plus the dilemmas they are faced with are fascinating matters which most of us encountered in one or another time in out lives.

This novel is an American quilt of arts and aspirations, love and let live, creation and the price you pay for it. In today's fast-paced era which gives you the illusion of being able to have it all, a romantic, passionate novel about half a dozen successful female artists from the last century is the perspective every woman reader yearns for. These stories will help us realize that answers to important questions can never be easy.

We can't have it all. But what we do choose to have is up to us – and the rest is just insignificant detail.

Street Talk

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