DIEGO by Carmen Bernier-Grand


Bigger Than Life
by and illustrated by
Age Range: 14 & up
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As she did in Frida: Viva la Vida! Long Live Life! (2007), Bernier-Grand channels the personality of Kahlo’s husband in 34 free-verse poems. From the beginning, readers learn that Rivera’s truth is mutable: “What is life but a story? / I choose to embellish my life story.” Thus he confides to readers that while he “rode the revolutionary hills” in his public story, “In truth,… I boarded a ship to Europe— / a storm of guilt almost sank me in mid-ocean.” He is just as frank about his many liaisons and children, mitigating his infidelity with his ardent yearning to create art that celebrated the Mexican people. Where the earlier volume paired poems with Kahlo’s art and archival photographs, this mixes some reproductions of Rivera’s work with Diaz’s stylized, Aztec-inspired mixed-media tableaux. Done in a South-of-the-Border palette, they are undeniably lovely, but serve to distance readers from the vigorous man speaking in the poems. While this effort is not as sublime as its predecessor, it nevertheless makes a worthwhile, if flawed, companion—rather like the man himself. (biographical note, glossary, chronology, sources, “In His Own Words”) (Poetry. YA)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7614-5383-3
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2009


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