Friday, May 4, 2018

Me on Blood Water Paint

Title: Blood Water Paint
Author: Joy McCullough
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (Penguin imprint)

Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father's paint. She chose paint. By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome's most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost.

Blood Water Paint is harsh and honest, lyrical and poignant. It's the true tale of a young woman's strength and fury, her determination, her sorrow and disgust at her treatment by the men around her.

Artemisia is thoughtful, a painter looking to improve at her craft. But how can she when her father keeps her art hidden, lies about painting them himself. How can she when she's a young woman in Renaissance Italy, someone with no status or power of her own. What can she do, a young unmarried girl at times quick and opinionated? All she wishes to do is paint, and paint she does, hating almost everything but painting. Until someone enters her life, her studio, with talk of teaching her. Until someone takes without her consent.

It's impossible to run from emotions in a verse novel, because there it is. Clear as daylight on the page. There for the reader to see, to breathe in, to feel themselves, over and over again. And what does the reader feel here? Artemisia's desire for freedom, for recognition as a painter. Her desire to be heard at the trial against her rapist, to be believed over him. Her rage at men, at their lies and desires and cruelty. Her disappointment. Her resilience. Her strength. This is a powerful story that needs to be read.

(I borrowed an e-book copy of this title from the library.)

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