A stark and pensive glimpse at a young boy's family as they immigrate to West Berlin prior to the collapse of the Berlin Wall.
Through the dual lenses of childhood innocence and adult hindsight, Schwartz tells the story of how his parents fled East Germany, leaving behind all they had ever known and even severing ties to loved ones who disagreed with their defection. More artistic than allegiant, and keenly observant, his parents come separately to their own realizations that they want to leave their oppressive homeland. When they apply for leave, they face the wrath of the fierce Stasi—East Germany’s police force, which knows no boundaries—and suffer ridicule, loss of privacy and humiliation as they are slowly denaturalized. Readers will feel the force of the stern and smothering oppression and should re-examine their own given freedoms. However, while significant and evocative, Schwartz's offering—bobbing about in a veritable sea of graphic memoirs—doesn't leave enough that lingers, down to its art, which is reminiscent of Marjane Satrapi’s or Zeina Abirached’s. For a more memorable—and visually striking—look into this time, check out Peter Sís’ remarkable The Wall (2007).
Though important both culturally and historically, unfortunately what should be haunting is less than. (glossary, timeline, map) (Graphic memoir. 12-18)