Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Frida - Carmen T. Bernier-Grand

Viva la vida! Long Live Life!
Illustrated with Kahlo paintings and a few photos
Published 2007
Marshall Cavendish Children
Written for children, good for all ages
64 pgs.
Rating: 5

This is my favorite of all the Kahlo books I've been reading this week. It's a biography, but written in first person free verse and illustrated with Kahlo's own paintings. Each painting includes the title, date, and an interesting caption. I learned a terrific amount of information about her life, her loves, her misfortunes and illnesses. She had a "messy" life, but there sadness is not overpowering, it stresses more a joy in living than the anguish of many heartbreaks - which were very real.

San Francisco

Women in slinky dresses and pert little hats
stare at my frilly skirts, my sun-shaped earrings,
the ribbons of purple light adorning my braided hair,
the thousand-year-old jade necklace Diego gave me.
I giggle, enjoying the attention!

Diego disappears for days,
painting a mural at the San Francisco Stock Exchange,
another at the California School of Fine ARts.

I hardly paint.
Instead I play at being his wife.
Frida Kahlo de Rivera
--"de" Rivera, "of" Rivera--
I belong to my owner.

I got a wonderful feel for this woman, she became flesh and blood for me. The verse is powerful, telling, illuminating and illuminated. Good stuff.

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