A Portrait of Freedom
Reader reviewed by Julie M. Prince
A biography of the Statue of Liberty&awesome! Thats what I thought when I first heard of this book. I was not wrong, it is awesome. After all, the average person doesnt know a lot about the infamous statue. We know what it stands for and most know it was a gift from the French. However, I was certainly curious about how it was built and exactly where the idea originated.
This book tells all of that and more. I was fascinated by the anecdotes, especially the ones about where financial backing for Liberty came from (not the expected places).
The multiple viewpoints in the text were sometimes a bit jarring. I had hard time relaxing into the story because I had to keep looking up at the headers on each page to read whose first-person perspective it was, but once I got the idea, I was fine. I do like the authors note at the back explaining that she wanted Libertys story to be told by those who helped bring about her existence. That makes sense, and its actually kind of brilliant.
The best part of the book for me, aside from the behind-the-scenes approach, is the variety in the illustrations. After paging through and getting a sense of the huge palette of color used in the watercolor, ink, and pencil illustrations, I went back again and just savored the sheer number of differences between them.
Its totally appropriate that each person highlighted should have a unique portrait, since there were so many individuals involved in the statues creation, all from different walks of life. There are pages full of action, introspective pages, those with one person on them, and those with hundreds.
I could look at the two-page spread of Joseph Pulitzer for hours and never grow tired of admiring Tavaress brilliant use of light, subtle blend of browns, and fine details of ordinary objects brought to life.
The quality of this book is not to be overlooked either. I ran my hand over the slightly textured cover and copper embossed lettering several times. Copper&like the statue. Nice touch! The thick, glossy pages have a purposefully textured feel as well. All-in-all, this is a beautiful book!
Off to turn another page&.