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Be More Like Frida

*This is a book review of What Would Frida Do?: A Guide to Living Boldly by Arianna Davis.

“‘I am; simply I am.'”

– Frida Kahlo

Quick Facts

Author: Arianna Davis
Release Date: October 20, 2020
Genre: Biography
Number of Pages: 256
SJ Rating: 71%

The Synopsis

With each year that passes, Frida Kahlo becomes more of a pop culture icon. A legend ahead of her time, Frida fought and displayed the beliefs we fight for today. In What Would Frida Do?: A Guide to Living Boldly, Arianna Davis explores how we can look at Frida Kahlo’s life and gain inspiration to live our own as authentically and powerfully as she did.

“Yet again, she was a trendsetter ahead of her time” is the perfect way to describe who Frida is and part of why she is a pop culture icon several decades later. From thick brows to metal on teeth, Frida was far ahead of her time.

This is the first book I’ve read that mentions the pandemic. Apparently people were doing a lot of Frida Kahlo jigsaw puzzles.

The Good

First and foremost, I love the story-telling in the beginning.

It also feels like a reflective work, like the author is reflecting on the different aspects that make up Frida Kahlo and how those aspects have affected society today.

Also, I like how the author used the stages of grief to explain the heartbreak. It makes sense because you’re literally grieving when you experience heartbreak; it’s something I knew but never read in a book.

The font is just right for this book; I immediately loved whoever made that decision. I also love the decision of placing flowers and images throughout the book–both items that reflect Frida.

Most importantly, I love (can I use any other word?) the tangibility of the advice in the “What Would Frida Do?” section at the end of each chapter. It’s things I can actually do, which is what I look for but miss in so many self-help books.

The Bad

This kind of has nothing to do with the actual book, I think, but something about Madonna wanting to portray Frida doesn’t sit right with me.

Something else that has absolutely nothing to do with the book: As much as I stan Frida and mostly everything she’s about, I could not be with a man who is incredibly vocal about his inability to be loyal. Imagine someone telling you they plan on cheating on you because they need sex as much as they need to urinate. Never in my life.

I found it slightly annoying the same factual information about her life got repeated as if we hadn’t read it in previous chapters and the introduction. For a book that seems like it wants to be a biography, it quotes a biography by Hayden Herrera a lot.

I feel like there is definitely a way to write the book without being incredibly repetitive. It almost seems like the author is being repetitive simply to give the book length, but I couldn’t know for sure.

The Overall

Arianna wrote, “Sometimes it takes the passage of time for a culture to fully realize the true impact of a human being,” and that is definitely the case for Frida Kahlo’s legacy.

Did this book do Frida’s legacy justice? Kind of. It was incredibly repetitive, yes, but almost in a praising way. It’s mostly a biography mixed with a little bit of a self-help book vibe, but some of the advice can be read in countless other books.

I will say, reading this book has helped me understand some of Frida’s paintings, the ones I often breeze over in art galleries.

Next book to be read and reviewed: I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

“…it’s because of Frida that we can take features society might deem as ‘flaws’ and instead call attention to them as our most beautiful attributes.”

– Arianna Davis

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