My rating: 3 of 5 stars
First Published: September 1st, 2014
Publisher: NBM Publishing
Recommended Age: 11+
Genres & Themes: Graphic Novel, Childhood, Memories, Diversity
This collection of short stories forms a singular narrative that reveals the tiny moments when you realize you are at the precious end-days of youth. Calling on memories from his own childhood as well as those gathered from friends and family, author and artist Patrick Atangan’s work blends stories with strong psychological elements and insight with simple artwork evocative of youth. Bittersweet, joyful and reflective, these are the type of marking moments that best define us as adults.
This is a collection of short stories, with animal-shaped characters that meditate on childhood, family, friendship and loss. It’s wonderfully-honest and bittersweet.
It also puts you in such a quiet, nostalgic mood. I read it slowly, because I couldn’t imagine rushing through the stories. Blasphemy! As I read it, I kept thinking of my own childhood.
I’ve said it before, but I’m actually an immigrant. I was not born in Canada. So, like the characters in this book, there are things I went through at school because I wasn’t born Canadian. I’ve had teachers laugh at the way I pronounced words. Surprisingly, when the teachers started laughing, the students didn’t. One time, a teacher dictated a few words to me, but so fast that I had trouble understanding, and when he saw what I wrote, he started laughing and said, ‘‘I shouldn’t laugh.’’ But he did, anyway.
Expect situations such as this one in this book. It’s saddening, since no kid should feel self-conscious about the way they look, speak or behave—just because they don’t look White, have an accent and have different behaviours influenced by their own cultures.
At the same time, I admit there were repetitions. In many short stories there is mention of a grandmother dying (why no grandfather?) and kids being bullied at school. It’s true that it offers different perspectives, but I believe other important childhood moments could have replaced the repetitive ones.
A memorable, but in no way perfect, graphic novel.
Follow me on: