When I first received my copy of Peoplescapes, My Story From Purging To Painting, I was struck by the expressive, colorful painting on the cover. Nancy Calef certainly chose one of her more provocative works to represent what was inside the pages of this charming and heartfelt book.
I was immediately drawn into the author’s tales of her atypical and often dysfunctional childhood. The modeling industry is a world where the sexualization of women and girls is still very much prevalent, and it was somewhat shocking to find out that Nancy’s own mother was the one pushing her in this direction. Far from a typical stage mother (or maybe not that far?), Esther was often eccentric and a bit odd.
As often is the case with girls who are made to rely more on looks rather than any other asset, Nancy soon fell into the world of anorexia and bulimia. Yet, rather than bemoan her unconventional upbringing, battle with eating disorders and life with stage mom, Esther, Nancy found a more productive outlet in her artwork. Peoplescapes also includes some of Ms. Calef’s personal travel stories (depicted with additional artwork), which I found quite interesting as well.
I enjoyed Peoplescapes. I absolutely love Nancy’s artwork. She’s clearly a talented contemporary artist. While I would like to have read more about her battle with eating disorders, that certainly didn’t take away from the book. Nancy Calef is proof that we can all overcome life’s difficulties and turn negative experiences into positive creativity. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about triumph over adversity, and finding ones’ own creative path and purpose.
5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton