“It’s so easy not to notice a man of few words.”
A girl looks back on her relationship with her grandfather. Already a humble, simple man, Grandfather retreats further inward when the love of his life passes away. He loses interest in the day and its promises, sleeping through bus rides, movies, even his granddaughter’s ballet recital. Lapointe builds a portrait of a brokenhearted man and his granddaughter in details, adding depth and nuance to their compelling bond, before shifting the story in an unexpected direction. One day news spreads of a “Who Will Go to the Moon Contest,” which captures the curiosity of almost everyone, including the narrator. “I didn’t want my life to be one long breath. Warm, and slow.” She’s chosen to take the fateful trip despite the odds, but her success doesn’t stir Grandfather out of his solitude. The big day comes, and she’s off to the moon. Yet she feels “an emptiness” once she is in space, where her wandering thoughts inevitably lead her back to Grandfather. Featuring muted colors and distinctly drawn, primarily light-skinned characters, Rogé’s pictures stir big emotions out of the smallest gestures. Though readers of all ages may find the rather disjointed story bewildering, the author’s measured, direct text keeps it all thematically intact, with an ending full of small breakthroughs.
An undeniable if imperfect gem. (Graphic novel. 10-13)