A well-crafted visual depiction of the troubling contents of the Mueller Report.

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THE MUELLER REPORT GRAPHIC NOVEL

The Mueller Report gets the comic-book treatment in this graphic novel.

The much-anticipated Mueller Report—officially titled Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election and named for Robert Mueller, the special counsel who conducted the probe—was finally released to the public on April 18, 2019. For those whose eyelids get heavy at the very idea of the two-volume, 448-page redacted report, Slate (You Can Do a Graphic Novel, 2018, etc.) offers this condensed, visually stimulating version: a graphic novel of excerpts accompanied by illustrations of the relevant events. Readers can learn all about Russian spies’ posing as Donald Trump supporters on Facebook; the infamous meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian agents in Trump Tower; Trump’s asking for United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation; and Trump’s many colorful tweets. Along the way, the author delivers cartoonish depictions of the major players, often placing their own words—as recorded in the report—into speech bubbles. Even with Slate’s attempts to streamline the report, the book makes for some technical reading. “The Internet Research Agency (IRA) carried out the earliest Russian interference operations—a social media campaign designed to provoke and amplify political and social discord in the United States,” reads the first sentence, accompanied by smirking portraits of Vladimir Putin and Russian businessman Yevgeniy Prigozhin. The author’s drawings are simple and quite endearing—if not always flattering to those they portray—and she organizes the narrative in a way that is easy to follow. It’s unclear who would be interested in reading Mueller’s findings at this time given that new Trump scandals have already displaced these older ones in the public’s mind. Still, for those who have not perused the work and need to get the highlights, Slate’s version goes down far easier than the original report. One could imagine it proving a useful tool in the future for readers who wish to understand the particulars of the Russia investigation when it is no longer general knowledge. But for those who just lived through it, the volume is less entertaining than it is distressing, disturbing, and occasionally infuriating.

A well-crafted visual depiction of the troubling contents of the Mueller Report.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-937258-11-8

Page Count: 108

Publisher: Richard Minsky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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