Frida: A Biography by Hayden Herrera

Frida: Her Life, Legacy and Struggles

Frida - self portrait 1940

Frida – self portrait 1940

  • Book:  “Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo”
  • Author:  Hayden Herrera
  • Publisher:  Perennial, 2002

Undoubtedly, some of the best ways to learn about a foreign culture are by reading novels from the local authors, or by studying biographies of its most prominent citizens.  And when you think of Mexico – quite a few big names would instantly come to mind, one of them is that of Frida Kahlo.

Frida was a talented Mexican painter who had a very short and tragic life.  When she was only 18 years old, she got into a serious bus accident that left her crippled and in severe pains for the rest of her life.  She continued to thrive despite her condition, marrying a World-famous Mexican painter, Diego Rivera, who was 20-years her senior and already a big star during his lifetime, and developing her own solid and original talent.

This book, which was made into a movie starring Salma Hayek, is a very good introduction into Frida’s World – her successes and struggles, her married life, her career and travels, her dreams and disillusionments.  This small but powerful woman, who in her 47 years of life had seen and experienced more than many will ever know, was in fact a force to be reckoned with.  And as a small proof to that, her art was expressive and reflective.  Her favorite genre was self-portraits, and she often featured herself with animals and other inanimate objects, that are always up for an interpretation.

In addition to being full with informative details, this book is also featuring numerous private letters of Frida, her husband, her family and friends, as well as some of her personal photos and artwork.  By reading this book, you will gain a good level of insight into who this woman really was (the movie is also nice but it only shows a tiny part of a big story).

Frida - self portrait 1926

Frida – self portrait 1926

P.S. This book is a perfect example why you shouldn’t judge one by its cover – yes, using a picture of Salma Hayek on a book about Frida was a wrong and a strange decision on the part of the publisher, yet it’s the inside pages that matter the most.

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