A New York Times-bestselling author’s personal examination of how the experiences, art, and disabilities of Frida Kahlo shaped her life as an amputee.
Frida Kahlo was an amputee in the last part of her life, but long before that her right leg had been compromised by a childhood bout with polio. Since adolescence, Emily Rapp, herself an amputee since the age of four, felt that there were many things she had in common with Frida Kahlo. From the first sight of Kahlo’s painting of the devastating bus crash that almost killed her, Rapp felt a sense of kinship with the artist. They both endured numerous operations; both alternately hid and revealed their altered bodies; and both found a way to live and create despite physical and emotional pain.
In this riveting read, Rapp gets to the essence of Kahlo through her art, her letters, and her diaries. Rapp tells her own story of losing a child to Tay-Sachs; finding love, and becoming pregnant with her daughter; and of how Kahlo’s life and work helped her to find a way forward when all seemed lost.
Containing several full-color images of Kahlo’s art and clothing, Frida Kahlo and My Left Leg offers a unique perspective on the artist and the challenges she faced.
I want to know and remember what it was like to walk as Frida once walked: before polio at six years old shrunk her right leg; before the infamous bus crash on September 17, 1925 when the pole pierced her pelvis; then the casts, the saws, the stitches woven into the skin and then carefully twisted out, the scars gone white and silent and sealed. I am one-legged, like Frida, but I am also unlike her, and there in our essential difference is where my fascination lies, and there lies also my devotion, my despair, my revulsion, my resentment, my desire.