The secret life of The lonely doll : the search for Dare Wright, by Jean Nathan. New York : H. Holt, c2004.

An image of the cover of a children's book "The Lonely Doll," originally published in the 1950s, resurfaces unbidden in Jean Nathan's memory, and she embarks on a quest to discover more about its author, Dare Wright. The book itself proves elusive to find, and biographical information about its author equally so. Eventually, the story she is able to piece together is both profoundly illuminating and profoundly disturbing.

Although I would not have chosen this biography to read on my own, I found I was fascinated by Dare's story. Confined to a world of make-believe by a strong mother who couldn't let go, Dare's personality is subsumed so completely into that of her mother, she herself almost completely ceases to exist as an individual. It was like watching a spider create its web and entrap its victims; yet, even knowing what the ultimate end would be, I was unable to stop reading.