Author: Ann Gaines
Publisher: Chelsea House Publications
Release Date: 1 January 2004
As the world struggled to recover from World War I, it was Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel who decided what the woman of the twentieth century would look like. Her designs, showing the motley influences of soldiers, cabaret singers, and nuns, liberated women from the ruffles and flounces of the Gilded Age. They popularized arms, ankles, low waists, clean lines, and costume jewelry; through Chanel's innovations, every woman, regardless of her income, could create a personal style. Although her own origins were humble, Chanel's name has become synonymous with elegance and good taste.
- Explores the contributions of women in the science and arts, whose paths allowed them to break gender barriers. - Lavishly illustrated with photographs and memorabilia. - Presents inspiring portraits of achievement.
Coco Chanel was a very interesting book. Gaines was extremely talented at providing all of the information in a thorough yet engaging manner. The layout of the information was fantastic! Instead of beginning with Chanel's birth and carrying through to her death as one might expect, the author began with an event that happened later in Chanel's life and then transitioned into her childhood and continued from that point. This was an attention-grabber and I completely loved that the author did this. Once I was finished reading the book, I had no questions about Coco Chanel, because Gaines covered it all.
One thing that bugged me about the book were the boxes of quick information below the pictures. The pictures themselves were lovely. Correct me if I am wrong but the point of the boxes beneath pictures are to provide new information, or facts that may fit with the picture and not necessarily into the paragraphs themselves. In this book, however, the author did occasionally give new information, but she mainly either restated something that I had previously read or took the exact sentence out of the paragraph. This irked me because I wanted to learn more about Chanel, not have old information reinforced to me the same way. Something else that slightly irritated me was that Gaines brought in other people as sources, but did not necessarily explain who they were. This left me questioning who they were and why the author would quote them.
Generally, I would recommend this to ages 12 and up. Be aware that the author does mention a sensitive topic in one sentence of the book. I just realized that the length of the negative criticism I have is a lot longer than the positive things I have to say about the book. This is a children's book, so I can tell you that if I did read this when I was 12 I would not have recognized most of the things I mentioned in paragraph two. So bear that in mind if you take a peek through this book that it is geared towards a younger crowd. Overall, I found the book to be a pleasant read and I do not regret reading it, so definitely check it out if it appeals to you!