Skim

I had a dream I put my hands inside my chest and held my heart to try to keep it still.

Title: Skim

Authors: Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Series: Standalone

Publication: January 1st 2008 by Groundwood Books

Pages: 143

Source: Library

Summary from Goodreads:

Heartbreakingly funny, moving and vibrantly drawn, Skim is an extraordinary book–a smart and sensitive graphic novel of the highest literary and artistic quality, by and about young women.

“Skim” is Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth who goes to a private girls’ school. When Skim’s classmate Katie Matthews is dumped by her boyfriend, who then kills himself, the entire school goes into mourning overdrive. As concerned guidance counselors provide lectures on the “cycle of grief,” and the popular clique starts a new club (Girls Celebrate Life!) to bolster school spirit, Skim sinks into an ever-deepening depression.

And falling in love only makes things worse…

Suicide, depression, love, being gay or not, crushes, cliques, and finding a way to be your own fully human self–are all explored in this brilliant collaboration by cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki. An edgy, keenly observed and poignant glimpse into the heartache of being young.


My Thoughts:

I feel like a terrible human being for saying this, but I found Skim to be horribly underwhelming. I was excited to read it. I’d heard nothing but good things about it, my Professor said it was her favorite of the Graphic Novels we had to read for the unit in class, and a majority (not all) of my classmates seemed to enjoy it as well. Then, there was me and a few others sitting over in our selective corner of ‘meh’. The art was beautiful, and paired with the writing, it added so much meaning – but I was still left with an overall sense of ‘that was it?’ after reading. I can’t even pinpoint what it was exactly, but I will certainly try.

My first issue, and this is the only one I’m set on, was the lack of plot. Things happened, sure, but nothing actually happened. There was this and then that and then some of this again. On and on it went. While it works as an idea, trying to read something lacking in the plot department is both trying and an emotional drain. I felt like I was wasting my time just waiting for something to happen. Plus, the whole relationship with the teacher – it was like it happened with no warning and then was never spoken about again. I might be the only one who was caught off guard by it, but I can’t possibly be the only one who thinks there needed to be more in the aftermath? I just found it to be lacking. The one element that added a bit of umph, fell flat.

Something else that played a part in my being let down was the character development. I felt as if we both never got to know the characters and then as if nothing ever changed with them. I didn’t feel connected to anyone. I felt estranged from the book, and that ruined my reading experience. I am a very character driven reader, I have to connect with someone in order to really get into the book, and that didn’t happen here in Skim. While I was interested (not really), I wasn’t invested. I didn’t care about anyone or anything that was happening and I ultimately felt as if the whole graphic novel was missing sort of a waste of paper? Gosh, I’m horrible for saying that, but that’s how I feel.

I am oh so glad I didn’t purchase this book for class. I got to return it to the library and and now I get to walk away and wash my hands of it. While Skim was attempting to handle topics like suicide and depression, it fell flat in its delivery and ultimately suffered because of it. What should have been a powerful and gripping read felt as if it were nothing more than a snapshot of something that needed to be much bigger and more carefully thought out. Sorry to all the Skim lovers out there, but it simply wasn’t for me. No thank you.

 

 

Advertisements

Nimona

“What if I cut off your arm right now? Then you’d see how fast the Institution would cast you aside. Just like they did me.”

“You wouldn’t.”

“No. I wouldn’t. And I’m the villain. What do you suppose that says about you?”

Title: Nimona

Author: Noelle Stevenson

Series: Standalone?

Publication:  May 12th 2015 by Harper Collins

Pages: 272

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it “a deadpan epic.”

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.


My Thoughts:

Nimona was the first ever graphic novel I found myself not only identifying with, but truthfully enjoying. I fell in love with the characters, the story, and the subtleties of the symbolism. The story was powerful and compelling, the characters captivating and complex, and the illustrations added so many subtle nuances to the beautiful story telling. I am head over heels in love with Nimona. I am in love, entranced, and never likely to forget the amazing graphic novel I just had the privilege of reading.

Continue reading

Persepolis

In life you’ll meet a lot of jerks. If they hurt you, tell yourself that it’s because they’re stupid. That will help keep you from reacting to their cruelty. Because there is nothing worse than bitterness and vengeance… Always keep your dignity and be true to yourself.

Title: Persepolis

Author: Marjane Satrapi

Series: Persepolis # 1

Publication: June 1st 2004 by Pantheon

Pages: 153

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.


A Listical of Thoughts and Feelings:

  • I forgot this was a memoir when I first started reading, and upon that realization, my appreciation for this book increased ten fold.
  • I do not like the black and white illustrations, they’re jarring on the eyes. Plus, the print is really tiny.
  • Fabulous story. Lot’s of narration for a Graphic Novel. It’s like an interesting hybrid baby
  • This book is an amazing history lesson because I knew absolutely nothing about Islamic Revolution in Iran
  • Offers an interesting perspective on war through the eyes of an affluent child. What was it like for a family not so well off? Raises lots of questions
  • Nothing is glossed over. It’s brutal and honest and actually kind of hard to read.
  • Children hear everything, remember that. Sometimes we forget they have ears.
  • Let’s turn torture into a game! How about no? Says a lot about her character, though.
  • Scene where Marjane finds her friends body after the bombing shook me. As it should.
  • This book is astoundingly clever, and it’s only the first half.
  • The small details, like her obsession with American pop culture, are shocking in ways I didn’t think possible yet they are unbelievably impactful.
  • I kinda like the black and white now, it’s appropriate, but it still hurts my eyes.
  • Good story overall. I’m definitely interested in the next part, but I also found it underwhelming? It went from being honest to sort of just talking over the problems.