Audra (Unabridged Chick)'s Reviews > The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72

The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock
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This marvelous book is a mix of biography and memoir, written in a beautiful, inviting style that feels as if the author is having coffee with you and sharing her latest research. Molly Peacock is a poet who conveys Mary Granville Delaney's life in lovely, lyrical detail that is educational and enjoyable.

It helps that Mary Delaney's life is captivating: in addition to being a talented artist, she was great friends with many luminaries of her day, and her eighty-eight years encompassed some incredibly exciting historical events. There are some nearly Gothic twists that would have seemed unbelievable were this not based on fact and from the first chapter I was enamored of Mary Delaney.

Those who want a 'traditional' style biography (one that doesn't hint at the researcher/writer behind the pages) will probably be shocked by this one: Molly Peacock emerges on the pages to share her own thoughts about her research, about Mrs. Delaney, and snippets of her own life. I found it delicious and seamless; like Ms Peacock, my reading usually says something about where I am in my own life and the challenges I'm working through, and it was inspiring, refreshing, and moving to read about how her research overlapped, influenced, and affected her life.

This biography was so compelling, and Mrs Delaney felt so real to me, I teared at the end; I, like Mrs. Delaney's friends, wasn't ready for her to pass away. Finishing was a bittersweet experience! I already miss Mrs. Delaney and Molly Peacock's beautiful observations on life, love, creative endeavors, hope, and finding one's true self.

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Quotes Audra (Unabridged Chick) Liked

Molly Peacock
“But if a role model in her seventies isn't layered with contradictions - as we all come to be - then what good is she? Why bother to cut the silhouette of another's existence and place it against our own if it isn't as incongruous, ambiguous, inconsistent, and paradoxical as our own lives are?”
Molly Peacock, The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72

Molly Peacock
“Is being burnt a requisite for the making of art? Personally, I don't think it is. But art is poultice for a burn. It is a privilege to have, somewhere within you, a capacity for making something speak from your own seared experience.”
Molly Peacock, The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life's Work at 72


Reading Progress

04/05/2011 "omg, this book is so gorgeous -- delicious heft, small size, full color plates! I am in *heaven*!" 3 comments
04/18/2011 page 7
2.0% "It's taking me forever to read this because I'm essentially swooning over every other line!" 7 comments
04/19/2011 page 53
13.0% "God, I love this mix of memoir and biography. So readable!"
04/21/2011 page 190
46.0% "I want Molly Peacock to be my BFF."

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message 1: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Aww, gorgeous review! Anxious to read this.


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