This ""Portrait of a Mexican Painter"" in the Hispanic Biographies series looks at the surrealist painter who has, in recent years, been elevated to near-icon status. Cruz unfortunately abandons the natural narrative line afforded by the events of Kahlo's life in favor of a repetitive series of essays that read more like college themes than coherent biography. Only in the final year-by-year chronology do the threads of the artist's life and the timing of her finished paintings coalesce. A well-researched and accurate work, it lacks passion, remaining mere reportage and never imparting a real sense of the woman. It's also hampered by poor design, offering a few black-and-white photographs and reproductions and nothing in full-color--an odd omission in the biography of a painter. Avoid this pedestrian curriculum-driven fare and reach for Malka Drucker's Frida Kahlo (1991).