To kick off Black History Month and also the month of “Love” with Valentine’s Day I thought it only befitting that I pick a book that compliments both themes.
Widow Basquiat tells of the torrid relationship between famed black artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and his girlfriend Suzanne.
Told from Suzanne’s perspective the story follows her from growing up in Canada with a hippie mom and abusive Iranian father to her meeting Basquiat and the intensity of their tumultuous relationship.
Page 127. “Jean-Michel tells Suzanne to lie down on a canvas that is on the floor. She lies down feeling the pitter-patter of the coke inside her. Jean-Michel draws a line around her body, over her head, down her arms and in and around her fingers. He tells her she can get up. They do some more coke.
Then he fills in the life-sized portrait with a liver, heart, and spleen. He draws two eggs for eyes and a big watermelon mouth. He kisses the face in the drawing but he does not kiss Suzanne.
When they start to come down from the coke they go to bed and shiver and shake in each other’s arms”
You will love the raw and realness of this book Suzanne lays it all out on the table for us to consume. From the stories of the inspiration behind famed paintings such as “Arroz con pollo” or “A Panel of Experts” about a comical fight between Suzanne and the singer Madonna over Jean-Michel Basquiat to the downward spiral of a relationship fueled by drugs, rage, passion, and dare I say, love? This true story will keep you enthralled even though you already know how it all ends.
Widow Basquiat: A Love Story by Jennifer Clement is this month’s book selection.