The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I loved visiting the National Gallery of Art in DC a few years ago and seeing the sculpture Little Dancer Aged 14 by Degas. I even used a photo I took of it as my profile picture on MySpace when I was feeling determined about something. Okay, so maybe it was more than a few years ago....
I wanted to learn more about Degas, why he chose that particular model, and the story around the sculpture. This historical novel explains it all, although the story of the van Goethem sisters isn't pretty. Ugh, I'm glad I wasn't poor in the 1870s in Paris. Women could either work themselves to death or whore themselves to death to earn enough money to eat. What a life. It's odd to me that ballet dancers weren't respected then--they weren't from the best families. Nothing but street rats trying to earn some money to feed their families.
The audiobook was good--three narrators speaking the occasional French who kept me listening even when I was a little bored.
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