Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman

Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers

The deep and enduring friendship between Vincent and Theo Van Gogh shaped both brothers' lives. Confidant, champion, sympathizer, friend, Theo supported Vincent as he struggled to find his path in life. They shared everything, swapping stories of lovers and friends, successes and disappointments, dreams and ambitions. Meticulously researched, drawing on the 658 letters Vin...

Title:Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0805093397
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:464 pages

Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers Reviews

  • Billy Zildjian

    While I rate most books I read, I don't typically write reviews. This is the third book I have read on Vincent and Theo and it is far beyond anything else I have read in capturing the essence of who they were and not just a retelling of "the story" of their lives. Heiligman brings incredible insight into the relationship between Vincent and Theo and the people around them. I reserve 5 start rating for very rare books and this is one.

  • Jennifer

    At Reading Rants:

  • Laurie Halse Anderson

    Heart-gripping, page-turning, and inspiring. The lives of the Van Gogh brothers are a portrait of love that endures through the darkest of times.

  • Cait • A Page with a View

    3.5 stars. I was kind of expecting more of a novelization than this ended up being. It felt more like nonfiction meets a present tense narrative if that makes any sense. But it was still entertaining and seriously well researched! You could probably learn as much from this as you would from an art history textbook.

    The book does a pretty great job painting a clear picture (ha I crack myself up) of Vincent van Gogh's relationship with his brother Theo and the dynamics of their whole family. And it

    3.5 stars. I was kind of expecting more of a novelization than this ended up being. It felt more like nonfiction meets a present tense narrative if that makes any sense. But it was still entertaining and seriously well researched! You could probably learn as much from this as you would from an art history textbook.

    The book does a pretty great job painting a clear picture (ha I crack myself up) of Vincent van Gogh's relationship with his brother Theo and the dynamics of their whole family. And it really does cover a LOT... like there's a timeline, info on relatives, and even sketches & paintings included.

  • Rebecca Foster

    Heiligman’s elegant biography for 14- to 18-year-olds focuses on the key relationship of Vincent van Gogh’s life: that with his younger brother, Theo. It opens in the present tense, which recurs in much of the book, and Heiligman intersperses more standard narrative chapters with short scenes that are almost like sketches. The language is highly visual throughout, inviting readers to imagine the view for themselves. The contents are arranged under headings—Threshold, Gallery One, Gallery Two, an

    Heiligman’s elegant biography for 14- to 18-year-olds focuses on the key relationship of Vincent van Gogh’s life: that with his younger brother, Theo. It opens in the present tense, which recurs in much of the book, and Heiligman intersperses more standard narrative chapters with short scenes that are almost like sketches. The language is highly visual throughout, inviting readers to imagine the view for themselves. The contents are arranged under headings—Threshold, Gallery One, Gallery Two, and so on—so the book functions like a museum tour. The book powerfully conveys the way mental illness clusters in families. However, there is a fair bit here that will feel familiar to those who have read about Vincent before. Yet it is beautifully written and succeeds in being much more creative than your average biography. Likely to foster a deep and abiding appreciation for art, especially in teens.

    See my full review at

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  • Lisa

    As a fan of Van Gogh's art, and the mother of two boys, I just really loved this book about the deep love two brothers had for each other and how one did everything and anything he could to allow the other to follow his dreams.

  • Louise

    While this is written for teens, not knowing the story, it held my attention. Kudos to the book designers.. Its short chapters are grouped into sections, each with a b/w Van Gogh sketch. The cover shows the hats worn in the famous portraits of the two men. The brothers look alike such that the Theo portrait has often mistaken for the artist.

    As a YA book, the sentences are reasonably simple but the vocabulary will send all but the spelling champions to the dictionary. The content, which would nev

    While this is written for teens, not knowing the story, it held my attention. Kudos to the book designers.. Its short chapters are grouped into sections, each with a b/w Van Gogh sketch. The cover shows the hats worn in the famous portraits of the two men. The brothers look alike such that the Theo portrait has often mistaken for the artist.

    As a YA book, the sentences are reasonably simple but the vocabulary will send all but the spelling champions to the dictionary. The content, which would never be included in a YA book two generations back, (both brothers have STDs and visit brothels) is not so different from the innuendo you hear on network TV.

    For teens in a class or a book discussion club there is a lot to observe and discuss. First, there is the striking loneliness of both young men. Their youthful; pastime is walking, later it’s the pubs. How do they know the person they are in love with since there little opportunity to talk? Are family bonds equally strong today? If they were Vincent, what would they ask of Theo? If they were Theo, what would they ask of Vincent? Without Theo and Jo, would we know of VanGogh today?

    The sad ending is beautifully told: Vincent’s final days. Jo’s visits to Theo; Theo’s illness; The aftermath.

    In the bibliography, there are books for adults on this relationship. Adults, who appreciate the simplicity, can enjoy this for the beauty of the prose and the design of the book.

  • Julie

    A magnificent work, an engrossing read.

    My review can be found here, on my blog:

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