This book club doesn’t adhere to a preconceived format. Some discussion might take the form of a Clubhouse talk, some might be done via a blog post, interviews and short videos. We hope to foster discussions and engage in conversations that showcase a diversity of voices and viewpoints. Each month, ten community members will win a copy of the month’s book via a giveaway on Instagram.* They will have a month to read it and participate in the dialogue.
The first book, What Would Frida Do? A Guide to Living Boldly by Arianna Davis that is investigated by our .ART Book Club put in the spotlight a woman and an artist that has been inspiring generations of people and for many reasons; she was a fierce character, bold, and unapologetic. She was also strongly politically engaged and unafraid to speak up. She also experienced more grief and pain, left to overcome so many obstacles, finding solace in her art. For discussion purpose, let’s think about the two following questions:
- What is your What Would Frida Do? moment?
- What do you find the most inspirational regarding Frida life? What is the most compelling aspect you are looking up to?
Review by evlyne Laurin
I was compelled to pick up this book. Who doesn’t like Frida Kahlo after all? I have seen the movie Frida many more times than I should have. I always have been intrigued by her (unconditional & peculiar) love for her husband, Diego. Let’s be honest, at first glance. Their match reminds me a bit of the scene in the movie Long Shot with Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen when the character of June Diane Raphael shows matches like Kate Middleton and Danny DeVito. The pair seems at least to be an unlikely match. That union, and it is a pretty well-documented fact, didn’t rally everybody – spoiler alert, even Frida’s mother Mathilde wasn’t a fan of the marriage.
I have seen the exhibition, Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving, at the Brooklyn Museum in 2019. I also saw the one in Milan in 2018, “Frida Kahlo. Beyond The Myth” at MUDEC. I remember discovering photos of her, by pure chance, at the Bentley Gallery in Phoenix. There is the Frida in the painting, where she depicted herself, never really embellishing reality, and there is the Frida seen by others, capture by the lens and set in time on film. I became intrigued like many others, and at the time, deeply invested in understanding her. Therefore, this book categorises as neither a self-help book nor a biography seems like one that was perfectly right up my alley.
It is repetitive at times. Many times, it lacks a bit of substance. The author holds in there and still try to push her agenda, which is simply that a lot of Frida life can be something to look up to when we are in doubt. She is, or has become, the poster woman of strong women in an era where there were not so many. She was untamed, unable to fully rest and endure most likely more pain and suffering than most of us will ever do in our lifetime (at least, as I am writing these words, I hope so). Despite its (numerous) downfalls, the book still carries many suitable life lessons infused with the soul, terms and art of Frida Kahlo. At the end of my reading, I referred to one phrase from the introduction that stuck with me “(…) I (Arianna) hope to share how the legacy of one of history’s most iconic women can inspire anyone looking to live a little more boldly. Frida was, above else, a master of self – the author of her own story.” In a time where so many, myself included, feel a little bit lost in their identity and, it is good to be inspired to be the author of our own story.
The book’s format, chapter telling a story, the end of chapter inserts stating facts or focusing on a specific than the What Frida do?
The graphic of the book that is somehow reminiscent of the doodle Frida would do on her letter – the flower and quotes
It is a fun fact and light reading. You could read a chapter per week, per month or year, and that would be ok. Actually, that might be better (if you read it all at once, which is doable as it is a short book, you might feel that at times the author is a broken record and repeats the (same) facts one too many time.”
Many times, it gave me the little extra pushed that I need to reflect and be inspired by the strength that Frida has, no she wasn’t perfect. Yes, she had her low moment.
The tenacity and perseverance of the author to write this book from cover to cover. She often mentioned being a Latina, strong women Black and Brown girls out there – there is a path, a way. Is the dream big and bold and hassle the new way of telling young girls that fairytales exist?
I didn’t appreciate as much
While we have been quite critical about the rise of women drinking, the amount of time that Tequila is almost introduced as a remedy is worrying… and yes, it almost worked. I nearly got up during one sitting to visit the liquor store and get a bottle of Tequila and do it Frida and (Arianna way!), but I resisted.
In one instance, I twitched… in the Friendship chapter, the four lines in () discuss her extramarital liaison. For the reason that escapes me totally but feels judgy, the author thought it was essential to add that yes, many of which were with members of the same sex that had been made crystal clear in a precedent chapter title SEX. This is an example of the few negative caveats of that book
A bit about the author | Arianna Davis
“Nervously, I blabber the explanation that while I’m not Mexican, I am half Puerto Rican and half Black- and very proud to be writing this book as both a Latina and a woman of colour who has admired her work and life for years.”
Arianna Davis is the Senior Director of Editorial & Strategy at Oprah Daily, Oprah Winfrey’s new digital destination with a focus on thoughtful storytelling, live streams and events, and a members-only community. In this role, she oversees the digital editorial direction and strategy across the brand. Previously, Arianna was Digital Director of O, The Oprah Magazine, which launched OprahMag.com in 2018, the fastest-growing site launch in Hearst Magazines’ history. – except ariannadavis.com
*This book giveaway is taking place from June 3rd to June 11th at 6 pm BST. Please look at our Instagram post to enter the giveaway. No geographic location excluded.