Frida Kahlo is one of the most iconic figures from Mexico, her face covering everything from bags, to t-shirts. She led a fascinating life and has seemed to become more and more famous after death, her lifestyle and rebellion still hugely relevant to women today. I love Frida and have visited her house, now a museum in the Coyoacán district of Mexico City, multiple times. So when fellow Mexico writer and Oaxaca resident, Suzanne Barbezat asked me if I would like to review her new book about Frida I jumped at the chance.
The first thing that struck me about the book, Frida Kahlo at Home is how very beautiful it is. The striking photo of Frida on the cover sits beside a spine decorated with brightly coloured indigenous embroidery, the type that Frida would have worn during her life. The inside of the book is just as attractive with numerous photos of Frida and her family and friends, as well as paintings by Frida and murals by her husband Diego Rivera. Barbezat’s writing is fluid and enchanting, pulling you through Frida’s stories of life and love in relation to the different homes in which she lived. While full of facts (Barbezat has clearly conducted deep research) it never feels staid or boring, both due to the writing and the simple reason that Frida’s life was full of high drama and intrigue. Frida certainly didn’t live a ‘normal’ life in any sense of the word.
This book is great, both for people who know little about Frida, as well as for Frida connoisseurs. Its attractiveness makes it a wonderful coffee-table book that you can dip in an out of at ease. However, if you are like me, the story will grab you and you might find yourself staying up late to finish it.
Reader Waring: If you read this book outside of Mexico, you might get an overwhelming urge to book a flight to visit all of the fascinating homes and museums mentioned inside.
Susannah Rigg is a freelance writer and Mexico specialist. Her work has been featured in BBC Travel, CNN Travel, Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR and The Independent among others. Check out her portfolio here. Contact Susannah by email, info [at] mexicoretold [dot] com and join her on Instagram and Twitter.