Eleanor's Reviews > Renoir, My Father

Renoir, My Father by Jean Renoir
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's review
Aug 04, 2011

did not like it

Here continued my quest to read all the book club selections for the year. This was probably the hardest one to get through. Only the quest and the fact that I was reading it in small doses on the subway when I had nothing else to do but avoid eye contact with crazy people got me through.

Apparently, the New York Times said, apropos of this book, that Renoir was "unaffected, modest and genial."

I would say, apropos of this book, that he seemed like kind of an ass.

Often, Renoir's son relays pronouncements made by his father about life. Some of these are interesting. Some of them are things like women shouldn't know how to spell. Maybe I should give him more slack on his views towards women given that he lived at the turn of the twentieth century. Maybe. But isn't it still kind of strange to call someone "unaffected" and "modest" when they are given to making pronouncements. I know the point was to express the author's father's viewpoints, but he seemed awfully judgmental.

It's interesting to read a portrait of a life at that time, but the book drifts a lot from anecdote to anecdote about neighbors or friends without much in the way of a gripping narrative, or really, any narrative at all.

The person who called it, "one of the most engaging biographies ever written about an artist," should read Keith Richard's book.

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