November 8, 2008

Two Graphic Novels (Review)

Posted in Book, Nonfiction, Review tagged , , , , at 9:42 am by Laura

I’m not sure what differentiates graphic novels from comic books. I guess when I think of comic books, I think of the Archie, Richie Rich, and Casper the Friendly Ghost comics I read as a kid. I’m not sure if the graphic novel concept existed then. Graphic novels seem to be bigger and longer and perhaps better quality? I also don’t know if it’s truly a graphic novel if the story is nonfiction.

Blankets by Craig Thompson

I borrowed this from the library and was surprised at the heft of it — 592 pages. The artwork is fantastic and in some cases fantastical. The story, although it had moments of clarity and beauty, was a bit grim.

American Widow by Alissa Torres

I read this within the space of twenty-four hours. After reading Blankets, I was prepared for all graphic novels to be that long. This one didn’t need to be, to have similar heft in terms of effect. Given the title, it’s not much of a spoiler to mention that the author’s husband began working at Cantor Fitzgerald September 10th, 2001. If you did not lose a close family member on 9/11/01, this book, despite its format, takes you through the confusion, grief, and suffocating bureaucracy.

I recommend that you pull these books off the shelf the next time you are in a bookstore to see if the artist’s style, narrator’s voice, and subject matter click with you.

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