The Secret Life of Frida Kahlo

A Where Is My Guru #BookGuru review of F.G. Haghenbeck’s “The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo – A Novel”, by Jenn Grosso originally posted on the #WIMG Blog.

“Have the courage to live, because anyone can die.”

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Frida Kahlo, known today as one of Mexico’s iconic revolutionary painters, as well as an inspiration for who the title “Patron Saint of the Arts” has been most sweetly bestowed, teaches us that despite all our challenges we can live life passionately and fully. From poor health, a near death trolley accident at the age of eighteen and constant physical pain, to an intense but turbulent marriage, Frida shows us true strength and determination.

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“I suffered two grave accidents in my life…. One in which a streetcar knocked me down and the other was Diego.”

F.G. Haghenbeck takes us on a wonderful and colorful trip based on the known events of Frida Kahlo’s life, and has embellished them creating this intense work of fiction to show us all the different facets of Frida. We experience Frida, as the incredibly fragile woman who constantly struggled with her health and heartbreak; to the passionate and willful rebel who consumed everyone around her through her eccentric personality, love of her culture and cuisine.

Even though fictitious, I feel as though I have experienced little intimate glimpses into Frida Kahlo’s actual life. I have felt through these pages, her complete desperation and her constant struggle to simply carry on, but that at her strongest, Frida conquered her world. Through it all Frida turns to the beauty around her for strength and with brush to canvas, she poured herself into her art that has inspired beyond her time. Frida says she has always painted to “allay her fears and pain”, and left behind not only a legacy as an artist but also as a feminist, political fighter and someone who lived her beliefs without apology and without hesitation. Larger than life, being Frida was her ultimate work of art.

 “Then maybe something of me is coming through in the salt. To live life, you have to season it.”

Tune into this Friday’s Where Is My Guru Radio Show for more of The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo and how Frida has inspired me on my own journey.

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