Although this spirited pictorial retelling of the life story of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette contains no revelations, as written by this French journalist it is more enjoyable to read than previous biographies. Of particular appeal are the 488 illustrations (30 in color) of the blonde, green-eyed, long-haired beauty who became the outstanding French woman writer of this century. Delightful photographs, drawings and cartoons depict Colette's family, friends and houses, her appearance as a child, as a young woman, as music hall performer, nude, in a contemplative mood, expressing her ambivalent sexuality, as wife to three very different types of men, and as legendary lover of cats. The illustrations are well arranged and beautifully reproduced in a book of taste and charm. November 25
Of the many studies of French writer Colette that have appeared in the last decade, this volume is at once the most disappointing and the most striking. The text offers a superficial and often inane summary of Colette's progress from provincial naif to world celebrity. Readers new to Colette will come away with little sense that she was also one of the most remarkable writers of her day. The book's nearly 500 illustrations, on the other hand, capture an infinitely more complex figure than the text presents. A sumptuous album, recommended with reservations for larger collections of literary biography and cultural history. Grover Kroger, Boise P.L., Id.