Sensitive Creatures by Mandy Ord
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: 2011
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Graphic Novel, Urban Life, Nonfiction
Wonderfully off-beat, Mandy Ord’s stories reveal with poetic power the intimate, mundane and extraordinary moments in everyday urban life. From spammers who take over your email identity or dealing with a dead rat, to putting out flames in a train station bin or how to warm your feet in winter, the experiences and reflections of Mandy’s one-eyed girl will put you in touch with what really matters.
I have to admit I was not sure about the art at first. I am not someone who will only read graphic novels, comics or manga with art that is ‘‘pretty’’ and ‘‘neat’’, but I will say that there are certain styles I respond to more than others.
Caricature, for instance, is my least favourite drawing style because of the grotesque effect it creates. And yet, as I kept reading this book, I started to find Mandy Ord’s drawings actually… charming. This style suits her. I could not imagine her drawing in a different one.
This is a sort of memoir. It follows the artist and author herself as she recounts and reflects on moments in her life that have exposed her as ‘‘sensitive’’. Some moments are sweet or sad, but all of them are realistic, engaging and honest.
Because Mandy Ord talks about urban life—its effects on people and vice versa—I had no trouble visualizing what it would be like to live in an Australian urban city. I kept comparing Montreal to Melbourne. When she started talking about the nightmare that is parking I was like, ‘‘Yeah, I get you, girl. I get you.’’ I don’t live in Montreal, but whenever I’m downtown in a car I get so stressed and seriously feel claustrophobic. It’s better to take the metro my point is.
I’m surprised the author didn’t talk about gender issues and stereotypes in this personal book, especially since the woman is often stereotypically considered to be the more sensitive of the two sexes and the comic world is, let’s face it, dominated by men. At the same time, it was her choice—hey, it’s her book—but I still think she should have talked about women’s place in the world more, because it would have made SENSITIVE CREATURES even more profound.
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