This was a very good graphic novel.
We follow Art or Artie, as he talks to his dad who’s been through WWII because Art wants to write a book out of it. And this graphic novel is an illustration of what Art’s dad says he’d faced.
It’s a good book but it was really hard to read quick. It’s content heavy and that’s not a bad thing, it’s great. And it also deals with a lot of sad issues which is what makes it a slow read. You just have to take a moment and digest it. All the backstabbing, the lies, the cheating, the racism, everything just requires a moment. The torture in the war camps is terrible but holy nuggets the thing that’s worse is living in fear of being tortured, it’s living in fear of having your neighbours rat you out (see what I did there? Rat you out? Okay nvm). But yes. Living in that constant fear and the psychological impact that has on you is so much more devastating. It’s a good read.
Things you have to note though because I’m looking at the low star reviews on Goodreads:
- Artie’s dad’s english ain’t perfect. It’s not terrible. It’s fine. But it’s not grammatically correct. It doesn’t matter to me.
- Artie’s relationship with his dad which ain’t all that good. Although this book is about what his dad went through in the war, it’s also about Artie’s relationship with his dad. His dad has gone through a lot. He’s come out of war a different man, as expected. You can’t hate him for it. But you may start to dislike Artie and his disdain for his dad, which is captured in the book. His dad’s a very frugal person, he tried returning a carton of half eaten cereal or something at the supermarket, to get back his money. You can understand why the dad feels strongly about pinching every penny and saving everything he can given how everything was taken away from him in war. And so you might dislike Artie who finds his dad a little too over the top. But I can sympathise with Artie as well. He’s grown up in a different world where the rules are different from those that were established during war. He has a different set of principles and beliefs that suit his living, so his strife with his dad is understandable too. And I like the fact that he struggles with his own principles. He understands the pain his dad had gone through and knows he might be selfish but also he knows living with someone that has a different approach to life is just going to make their relationship worse.
- The pain and suffering does seem quite detached which I don’t find bad. It is actually what allowed me to get through the book. The melodrama isn’t overdone. We’re given a description of what happened. For example, we’re told a neighbour tells on a Jewish family that’s hiding even after being given money to keep them a secret. That’s all that’s stated. No emotional response is noted on the text, but it is unnecessary. You know how that shit feels and maigawd does it make you feel.
- The art may come off as messy? There are a lot of things going on in each panel which is another reason why this book took me a while to get through. I do like it though. I think it’s fine. But you know using rat people and cat people etc to depict the humans of different races was a little interesting – especially so when there were actual sewage rats running around in their bunkers. Like what? Hah.
All in all, I do like it. I like how it sheds light on people’s behaviours. It’s the most interesting thing. What do people do when backed into a corner? And what do people do when they have the power to back someone into a corner? We see some Nazi personnel not being all out terrible, some even look the other way – on purpose. It’s interesting. People and their responses. It’s really why I like this book.
Pick it up.