A graphic novel of regret riddled with inescapable grief, capturing attention from the outset, with a stinging and...

DEOGRATIAS

A TALE OF RWANDA

The impact of the Rwandan genocide through the eyes of a Hutu teenager.

Deogratias is beset with flashbacks of the war and his role in inflicting carnage. We first meet him after the bloodshed, in a bar where he meets an old friend, a white French sergeant. As the story jumps back in time, readers learn about young Deogratias’ heavy drinking, which works to keep the memories of his horrific behavior at bay and enables him to convince himself that he isn’t a dog—inhumane. Yet, although every drop is meant to prevent his metaphorical, and even sometimes physical, transformation into a dog, we witness how Deogratias was compelled to join the Hutu militia and murder two Tutsi friends. Running throughout is the muted narrative of the pastoral work of the white European men of the church and the ways in which they help and complicate Rwandan lives. The lucid, sometimes-painful imagery—depicted in intense colors, with highly expressive faces—accompanying this story illustrates the ways in which the hierarchies besetting race and ethnicity, imposed by the sociopolitical climate, all come to bear on the decisions made by the characters. Readers can’t help but simultaneously empathize with and loathe Deogratias’ decisions as his PTSD shuttles one back and forth between his reveries of past and present.

A graphic novel of regret riddled with inescapable grief, capturing attention from the outset, with a stinging and near-to-cathartic ending. (foreword) (Graphic novel. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-18964-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2019

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A brief, canny book that will make any girl who feels alone feel less alone.

GIRL TROUBLE

AN ILLUSTRATED MEMOIR

To all the girls she’s liked before, a memoirist offers a series of interconnected essays.

Though she has characterized herself as “boy crazy” and previously documented that label in Loose Girl (2008), Cohen shifts her focus to her relationships with other girls—the ones who rejected her as a friend, the ones she rejected, the ones whom she saw as competition or yardsticks by which her own failings would never measure up. Some were witnesses and some were judges whose verdicts on her as unworthy have continued to reverberate through her adulthood and motherhood. A psychotherapist would focus on her parents’ bitter divorce as the key to her alienation and lack of self-worth. “In most of my friendships, I’d been fun and happy and unafraid,” she writes of a pivotal day when she felt ostracized. “But that day something shifted. For the first time I saw myself in the world, with others around me. My parents divorcing. My mother’s grief. My own sense of newness and change, of the world spinning out of control.” One of the ways this book offers healing is through Cohen’s collaboration with the illustrator, her older sister Tyler. During “an ugly divorce, fraught with affairs and devastation and anger,” their mother chose the older sister as her ally and confidante, leaving a breach between the two sisters that they wouldn’t repair until adulthood. Her sister was her first true female friend and the first betrayal (of many). While recognizing that “memory is a slippery eel,” Cohen surveys the dozens of relationships with women she has enjoyed and endured, showing how friendship changes with different stages and how she has as well. “I miss all of my ex-friends,” she writes toward the conclusion. “They are stamped onto my heart like old romances, lost loves. They are parts of me in ways no one warned me they would be.”

A brief, canny book that will make any girl who feels alone feel less alone.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9970683-3-7

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Hawthorne Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Readers seeking an overview of the Mueller Report that constantly cuts to the chase will find this just the ticket.

THE MUELLER REPORT ILLUSTRATED

THE OBSTRUCTION INVESTIGATION

The Washington Post serves up a lively, graphic version of the foundational document in the current presidential impeachment process.

Issued in April 2019, the so-called Mueller Report investigated Donald Trump’s ties to Russia before, during, and after the 2016 campaign. Although its subject trumpeted that the report exonerated him, the Post team, headed by investigative political reporter Rosalind Helderman and augmented by Israeli graphic artist and illustrator Jan Feindt, observes at the start that the report made two things clear: It established that the Russian effort to influence the election was “sweeping and systematic” and left open the question of whether Trump committed a crime for trying to obstruct the investigation. This interference was well known long before Mueller set pen to paper, but Republican leaders in Congress swept it under the rug. Feindt has a straightforward editorial style of drawing that captures Trump’s every barking snarl and pouting snit. While the storyline is eminently faithful to Mueller’s more detailed documentation, the writers and artist bring drama to it by showing the many points of resistance within Trump’s staff—Chris Christie deciding he would not act as a shill to try to swing James Comey into Trump’s camp, deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland’s refusal to lie for Trump in exchange for an ambassadorial appointment, which, Reince Priebus feared, would “be seen as a quid pro quo,” a term much in the news of late. In an analysis, Helderman and her associates observe that these aides and staffers restrained Trump, for they quickly determined that “if they ignored or delayed the president’s most impetuous orders, his mood and attention would often shift.” Of course, those staffers are now gone, and so are the restraints they imposed. The illustrated report closes, as did the original, with an admonition that has doubtless troubled Trump’s sleep ever since: “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime…it also does not exonerate him.”

Readers seeking an overview of the Mueller Report that constantly cuts to the chase will find this just the ticket.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-982149-27-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2019

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