Kristen's Reviews > Luncheon of the Boating Party

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Aug 19, 12

Read in July, 2012

I really loved the idea of this book.....exploring the lives of the 14 people in this painting. I wish I had been more in a mood to read about painting, Paris and Impressionism. The book started slow for me and then I struggled because it was so choppy. At first I was confused for all the characters - but that was because of my mood - not because of the writing. After reading this book I will be very happy if I ever get to see the real painting - I learned to appreciate the composition - the color and even how the white in the wineglass is alive. I can better look at the painting now. I loved the theme of yearning to express and create - like the character Ellen who couldn't stand the cheep follies of mime, but wanted to work in real theater where ideas were expressed and considered. I also liked Gustave and his crushing sadness of the split in the group of impressionist artists - he had a vision of how great they could have been as a group. I loved Alphonsine for being such an encourager to Renoir and for her full heart that she never got to fully give. Having Jeanne as a character - with her husband forbidding her to model was key to understanding the tension of the social structure and the impressionist movement. One of the best characters was Angele who went back to her street life to earn money for Renoir. In this scene, talking to the gentleman, she said,"Truth to tell, I'm not a professional anything. Let's say I'm a miscellaneous individual....times are hard for miscellaneous people".
I really liked Alphonsines "cork" metaphor..."So much of life we can't control, she thought. We must accept the cork we are and stay afloat, and bob gaily when we can". The cork came up several times and at the end Renoir said, "...that all currents bring a person (cork) to a final safe place, and that he was right to rely on what came naturally."

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Luncheon of the Boating Party.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.