Women on the Shelf – The Diary of Frida Kahlo


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Frida Kahlo’s personal journal displays her daily thoughts and feelings. This diary is not what you can expect from such literary genre but that is, among others, one of the features which made it so captivating and intriguing.

There’s no day to day, going-ons, no seasons nor patterns. What I like the most is her use of words as tools: for many it may seem incoherent and senseless, but she just describes feelings by relating them to the sounds of the words, using ancient god and goddess representations and Mexican culture features. It’s excessive, abrupt and powerful, a certain reflection on Frida herself.

Beautifully hand-written in bright coloured ink, spattered with watercolours which enhance and shape the written text and in many cases, there’s no word needed. There are her thoughts, her ubiquitous and excruciating pain as well as her witty and sarcastic sense of humour.

There’s a brilliant introduction by Carlos Fuentes, compatriot author of “The death of Artemio Cruz” and former Mexican Revolutionary soldier. He describes the country’s historic upheaval in Kahlo’s life and how she played an active part of such a historical period, her passionate and motherly relationship with Diego Rivera and her artistic sources.

It’s a well worth reading to somehow find out about Kahlo’s art and re-discover a valuable artist and revolutionary woman, often overshadowed by Rivera. Highly recommended if you seldom get a peaceful break for reading!

The review was written by Zaira Dominguez Redondo of Glasgow Women’s Library.

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