This reading group guide for The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo includes an introduction, discussion questions and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
In The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo, F. G. Haghenbeck takes readers on a magical journey through Frida Kahlo’s life. After nearly dying in a trolley accident at eighteen, Frida makes a deal with Death to live. Her injuries from the accident pain and haunt her for the rest of her life, and to keep up her end of the deal Frida must offer exquisite delicacies to the dead every year on the Mexican holiday the Day of the Dead. Her recipes are kept in a mysterious black notebook, El Libro de Hierba Santa—“The Hierba Santa Book.” Based on known events of her life, this fictional reimagining is an intriguing ride that delves into Frida’s mind and follows her from lover to lover while also exploring her painting, complex personality, lust for life, and existential feminism. Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. The novel begins when Frida is close to the end of her life. Why do you think Haghenbeck chose to order the narrative this way? How does beginning the story with death affect the rest of the novel?