BookBrowse Reviews Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman

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Vincent and Theo

The Van Gogh Brothers

by Deborah Heiligman

Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Apr 2017, 464 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster

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Heiligman's elegant biography for young adults focuses on the key relationship of Vincent van Gogh's life: that with his younger brother, Theo.

This is Deborah Heiligman's second biography for young adults, after 2009's Charles and Emma (about Charles Darwin and his wife), a National Book Award finalist. Once again she filters the life story of a famous nineteenth-century figure through the relationship that meant the most to him. For Darwin that was his marriage; for Vincent van Gogh it was his turbulent but ultimately steadfast friendship with his younger brother, Theo.

The book is marketed to 14- to 18-year-olds, but I noticed no simplification or deliberate toning down of the content; for instance, it's mentioned that at different points both brothers disgraced themselves by being found with prostitutes. In both style and structure, this is a highly original biography. It opens in the present tense, which recurs in much of the book, and Heiligman intersperses more standard narrative chapters with short ...

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