This graphic biography presents Charlotte Brontë and her family as they persist through abundant struggles.
Readers see Charlotte grow from a cynical child in a family of six to an adult writer searching for a publisher. In telling her story, Fawkes includes lighthearted moments, like the reading posture necessitated by her nearsightedness or the dramatic fantasy world she and her siblings collectively imagined over the years. These temper the predominant, unavoidable melancholy over things such as the deaths of her two older siblings and the indentured drudgery of time as a teacher. Most successfully, Fawkes communicates the threat of poverty should Charlotte and her sisters be unable to secure financial independence, with few options available for Victorian women. Fawkes deftly weaves narration from Charlotte’s writings into appropriate biographical scenes. Despite setting notations, scene changes are sometimes jarring, and the ending is especially abrupt, cutting off at the moment of Charlotte’s success, as the title suggests. Fawkes’ illustrations appear as black-and-white, shaded pencil drawings in a style that cartoonist Alison Bechdel aptly describes in the introduction as “crisp and engaging.” A postscript by Fawkes explains her artistic and textual choices and personal “love” for Charlotte’s “persistence” and “imagination.” Sources for much of the narration and selected bibliography close.
A biography that goes beyond static history, inspiring respect for Charlotte and encouraging writers and artists to defend their work through adversity. (Graphic biography. 12-18)