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Frida: A Novel of Frida Kahlo

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  3,348 ratings  ·  179 reviews
Frida Kahlo, painter and cultural icon, lived a life of extremes. The subject of an Academy Award(c) nominated film starring Salma Hayek, Kahlo was crippled by polio and left barren by an accident when she was a teenager. And yet she went on to fall in love with and marry another star of the art world, muralist Diego Rivera. filled with passion, jealousy, and deceit, their ...more
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Published January 29th 2001 by Harry N. Abrams (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  3,348 ratings  ·  179 reviews


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Sue Reichert
Oct 13, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Frida Kahlo was an influential Mexican artist as well as a colorful(literally!)character. Her marriage to Diego Rivera as well as her many famous lovers has been documented by many authors, playwrights and screenwriters.

Barbara Mujica must hate Frida, however. This book had an interesting twist- it was narrated by Frida's younger sister, Cristina- but I found it full of hatred and spite for the main character. I've always liked Kahlo's art and her life story, but this was uncomfortable to read.
...more
kari
May 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved the idea but the book felt rather... pretentious, with Cristina talking to a psychiatrist (it couldn't be any more cliche) and having them reflect back at her. Also, a little clumsy given the amount of detail in a supposed monologue. But what put me off was not the stifled atmosphere, but how male gaze-y and male-centered the whole book was. It deals very well with colonisation and cultural appropriation, but enter anything related to sex - and it turns super gross and cishetnormative wi ...more
Hermien
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art, ebooks, south-america
I thoroughly enjoyed this but I am a Frida Kahlo fan so probably a bit biased.
Maria Ch
May 06, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I'm not even sure I liked this book.

The book tells the story of the life of Frida Khalo, her tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera and the even more tumultuous relationship between her and her sister Cristina, whose narrative we follow throughout the book, in the form of her confession to her psychiatrist, following the "death" of her sister.

I believe that my main problem was with the writing of this novel. In general I thoroughly enjoy first person narratives, but this particula
...more
Jess
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed making it through this book. I say "making it through", because Frida's story is so painful and I have been dealing with pain while reading it. I guess it is always nice to be able to focus on someone whose suffering is more intense than your own, in order to diminish your own pain. The book is written in a very unconventional style, as a kind of transcript of Frida's younger sister describing Frida's life to a psychoanalyst after Frida's death. An interesting device, and someho ...more
Susan
Nov 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed learning more about Frida Kahlo and her muralist husband Diego Riviera in this account that mixes fiction and biography. Narrated by Frida's younger sister Cristina, there are many fascinating details about Mexican politics and history of the early twentieth century. Having read Barbara Kingsolver's novel "The Lacuna, " having seen the film about Frida starring Selma Hayek, and being familiar with their artwork, there was still much to learn of Frida and Diego's idiosyncrasies and tumu ...more
Carrie Kellenberger
Mujica took some rather strange liberties with her fictional biography of Frida, but I thought this book was very engaging and extremely clever. It's written from Frida's younger sister's point of view. Cristina and Frida were very close growing up, and it was Cristina who cared for Frida right up until the day she died from apparent suicide.

While Mujica included a lot of historical facts in her story and covered Frida's life journey from a young child afflicted with polio, through her marriage
...more
Nancy McKibben
Jan 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: diehard Frida Kahlo fans
Recommended to Nancy by: saw it at the library.
Shelves: reviewed
Frida
By Bárbara Mujica

Frida Kahlo is an important artist in her own right, as well as a tragic figure crippled first by polio, then by a horrific traffic accident, and then by her own pain, both physical and emotional. And if that is not interesting enough, she was also married to painter Diego Rivera, and partied with the famous and infamous - Trotsky was a house guest, and Paulette Goddard was Diego’s lover.

Given all that material and the skill of the author, the book should be more compelling
...more
Evianna
Aug 22, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First of all, this book isn’t a biography, it’s a novel. It is full of fiction elements, from incidents to people, a fact the author admits in the end of the book. I consider unacceptable such an enormous falsification of events in a biography, let alone when it is not always clear what happened in reality and which events are the products of the author’s imagination.
Secondly, the story is being narrated by Frida’s younger sister, Christina, from the couch of a psychiatrist. Although interesting
...more
Natalia Oprea
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What i had to remind myself multiple times whilst reading this book is that it was not a biography of Frida, but her story imaged by the author. Barbara Mujica picked up well documented pieces of Kahlo's life and glued them together with her own interpretation. And i think she did a fairly good job, because the characters imagined by her simply made sense to me, that's why i had to remind myself that a good part of it was fiction.

First of all, i think it was an amazing idea to tell the story fro
...more
Jennifer
Mar 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fridos
Recommended to Jennifer by: Jaymi, in her love of Friducha!
Shelves: biographies
This book was a work of fiction based on the life of Frida kahlo. It was told from the point of view of Cristina Kahlo, Frida's youngest sister and constant companion. The author speculates what it must have been like for Cristi to live in the shadow of her famous sister. The tale of Frida, entwined with the rich history of the Mexican Revolution and the Mexican Art Movement, is a fsacinating, rich and scandalous story. There is no denying the fact tha Frida lived a life rich in interesting expe ...more
Michelle
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting story. I'd never heard of the painter Frida Khalo or her husband Diego Rivera until reading this book. It's a fictional account of Frida's life, told through the eyes of her younger sister Cristina. In this story, Frida is self-centered and high-maintenance. She can't survive without being the center of attention. Her sister dotes on her and their relationship is one of the most extreme examples of co-dependency I've ever read. There were times when I wanted to reach into the bo ...more
Lexie Williams
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book four stars, because I thought it was very new and gripping. The book was compelling throughout every chapter and gave an interesting, new perspective to Frida Kahlo's life from her sister Cristina. The only thing that bothered me was how spiteful Cristina did seem at times which while understandable got slightly irritating. Bárbara Mujica did a very solid job at organizing the facts of what Mexico was like at the time and Cristina's emotional state throughout her life. This book ...more
Debra
Sep 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cristina is Frida Kahlo's younger sister and the narrator of this novel. She is telling her tale of her famous sister's life to what seems to be a psycho-therapist.

From the first page, Cristina seems to be confessing to her sister's death. (No spoiler alert---this is evident from the first chapter.)

I found the narrator hard to sympathize with in the first half of the book. She comes off as unsympathetic, whining, and even self-centered. In the final two chapters, I finally thought Cristina was
...more
Amber
I like to read artist biographies. I think that is like the least popular form of studying art history because it's too easy or too much focused on the 'history' part or something. I read this years ago and it was pretty decent. It is the standard Frida Kahlo story told from her sister's perspective. I remember liking it but I mostly remember that I was reading it when I met my husband. Like, literally. I was eating pizza and reading this book and he came over and talked to me. Irrelevant but tr ...more
Shweta
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Most of you must have watched the very famous movie"Frida" played by Salma Hayek, you must have liked it but the book is the best. You will simply love it. It gives an intimate detail on Frida by her sister Christine. I started reading this book and i just couldnt stop it. Frida goes through so many tragic events in her life but she never gives up, she always lives her life to the fullest.

I simply adored it, i recommend it to everyone.
Liz W
Jan 04, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Utter drivel. The narrative is tricksy and too clever for its own good. Check the author's notes to discover just how much she made up. Clearly a poor novelist riding on the coat tails of the far more talented Frida Kahlo. Novelizations of real people are always slightly dodgy if not done correctly. This one is not done well and is clearly trying to appeal to the masses. I felt like I was reading a book by Judy Bloom, she probably would've done a better job!
Maggie
Jun 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this work of fiction about Frida. The author used her sister as someone telling the story of what went on in Frida's life & her relationships. A lot of it is made up, speculated, based on true events. This makes me want to read a nonfiction book on Frida & to find a book of her paintings & Diego's. ...more
Elvan
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First of all, shout out to the Turkish translator. Second of all, this book will change your idea about Frida, but one think should be considered about famous art people: all these kind of people are kinda crazy at some levels.
Brayan
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My thoughts in this book were it was very interesting to read this book Nowadays people just do art and don't open their mind like Frida she wrote a book in an art style way where she had kids get inspired. Frida had a lot to draw and write about in her book art style way no had ever done that she was the first one to do that's why people got inspired and started doing it just like her. She made people do art in a different way where they open their mind and tell their childhood and what they we ...more
Bob
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: family
I found this very rewarding, imagining what it would be like to live as an ordinary person in a family with such an extraordinary sister. Some reviewers remark that the incidents are invented by the author, so that it misrepresents Frida Kahlo and her life. But the story is about Cristina and her experiences which, the narrator keeps reminding us, are Cristina's memories that change and shift. The intensity of the love that binds the two sisters seems real to me, often swinging dramatically to ...more
Gianna Shaw
Although it was fascinating to learn about the life of Frida, I agree with other reviews that said that Christina's narrations were both full of spite and jealousy towards Frida with no real compassion towards her many struggles throughout her life. I also wasn't the biggest fan of the story being told to a psychiatrist, as it sometimes left some well written parts as choppy and not as intriguing as what it once was. I wish I would have read a biography of her life instead of this because I don' ...more
Terri
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written from her sister's perspective as she talks to a psychiatrist, it reads as if Christina Kahlo were present at every event in Frida's life. Obviously an impossibility and thus the genre is general fiction.

The book tends toward relating about Frida's private life and not so much about her artistic life. And it tends towards her sexual proclivities. And that is why I am fairly lukewarm towards this book, I wanted to read a little more of her general life, not just that Diego Rivera looked l
...more
Sadie S.
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I love learning and reading anything I can about Frida Kahlo's life, I did not particularly enjoy this book. Cristina Kahlo flips back and forth from bitter resentment to absolute adoration for her sister, Frida. Sometimes within the same sentence. And while, yes, that may be an accurate depiction of sibling rivalry, it just didn't work for this story and didn't make sense at times. There was no character growth or development for Cristina's character. Not only did I dislike Cristina, but ...more
Diana Dimas
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book overall. I do agree with some of the reviews from other readers. Although it's a good book, it's also a work of fiction and that is somewhat disappointing. When I first picked up the book, I was really excited to learn facts about Frida I didn't know before, however now I am questioning what things were real and what things weren't real.

I think anyone would enjoy this, except the readers that don't like to historical fiction books. Most people would've picked up this book ho
...more
Abby Rocha
It was entertaining fiction but I couldn't help to feel as if she was writing through her own very dramatized lens of what sisters could be like. Taking on the huge mythic life of such an important woman through the point of view of the jealous but loving lesser known sister was a bit of a let down and kinda sad. I think the title could of been "My sister Frida" or "Las hermanas Khalo" and that would set expectations better.
Nika
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't realize this was mostly fiction until the very end of the novel.The whole time reading I kept thinking "wow, Frida sounds like an absolute terrible person but her sister is even worse". Turns out the scenes that made the biggest impact were actually made up. I wasn't looking for a fanfiction but a biography. Saying that, I still enjoyed the book while reading it. It was entertaining and full of colorful references showing the mexican culture.
Kelsey
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frida. She was born into the world like a fireball... This book was written from the perspective of her sister and is based on the life of Frida Kahlo. After reading this book I want to learn more about Frida.
I wouldn't read it again but it is a book that gives life to the facts of her life and the the person that she was - on fire!
Megan Mencaroni
A very interesting take on the life of Frida Kahlo, told from her sister's perspective. I was very intrigued and captivated by their relationship, however towards the end I found it too repetitive and just become long. I give the author props for attempting a fictional story about a very memorable person in history.
Cindy
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written great insight to the sort of person that Frida was and for that matter Diego Rivera. Told from the point of view of Frida's sister. Of course, it is fictionalized though based on major events on their lives.
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American novelist, short story writer and critic. Her latest novels are Sister Teresa (2007), based on the life of Saint Teresa of Avila, and Frida, (2001) based on the life of Frida Kahlo. The latter was an international bestseller that was translated into seventeen languages. Barbara Mujica’s other book-length fiction includes The Deaths of Don Bernardo (novel, 1990), Sanchez across the Street ( ...more

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