And so the end of the blogging week commences.
I should have swapped today’s review with yesterday’s review to end on a happier note. I’m sorry to say that this will be a pretty quick wrap up to the week, since I didn’t feel strongly about this book in either rating direction.
This is a graphic novel adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Tell-Tale Heart, in which our protagonist has committed murder. He’s not quiet or shy about it. Oh no, he’s quite proud, telling us again and again just how he has committed the perfect crime. He hid the body in his home, convinced that no one would ever find out what he had done. He even wishes the police would come so that he can prove his logic is sound. However, this changes when he starts to hear the beating of a dead heart. This short horror story is non-stop intensity leaving the reader with an unsettled feeling – questioning how sane the narrator may or may not be.
*click image to be redirected to book’s Goodreads page*
So, I’m going to start out by saying that The Tell-Tale Heart is my favorite Poe story. When I saw this graphic novel adaptation at the library, I just had to check it out. I don’t wish that I hadn’t, and I’m also not particularly upset that I spent the time reading this short book. I feel almost entirely indifferent about this graphic novel.
I can’t criticize the writing, since it is Poe’s writer adapted from his original story. Given that, I did feel that Harper cut out much of the story, perhaps hoping the illustrations would fill in the blanks. They kind of did, but not enough for me to be completely satisfied with the adaptation.
The illustrations were a peg above mediocre and a peg below interesting. The artwork had, and continues to have me feeling so utterly unemotional that it’s hard to even from an opinion on it and write this paragraph. They were just alright for me. Nothing wonderful, but nothing I hated. Typically, when a story is adapted to a graphic novel medium, the pictures help bring the story to life. In this case, I didn’t feel like the pictures added much, if anything, to the story’s (and reader’s) experience. They were just kind of there, and that was okay, but they left me the teensiest bit unsatisfied.
I think this is going to be the last thing I’m going to talk about, but it was the point that bothered me the most about this story. This seemed to be written for and marketed toward middle-grade readers. The concept of such exceptionally bothered me. I first read this story in 7th grade (then again, my teacher was rather eccentric – we also watch The Twilight Zone in that English class!), so I understand that a young audience can understand and even enjoy Poe.
However, I felt that this book was written toward the level of perhaps 4th-6th grade. (And 6th is is a bit of a stretch.) I felt as if Harper mistook the concept of a graphic novel and misconstrued the notion as “picture book.”
Harper could have done some pretty awesome and wonderful things with this graphic novel had he written it more for an early high school reading level. If he had chosen this path, the pictures could have been a bit more graphic for the horror genre that Poe writes in. There would have been more to analyze and remark upon.
But, since he chose to pursue a younger audience (perhaps he did this by accident, not quite sure of the specifics of the demographics he was writing for?), this adaptation lacked much of what I wanted out of it.
I bet you’re all wondering what my final judgement on this book is? –Especially since I ended up doing more complaining than I originally foretold. Well, I would say that I don’t particularly recommend this book. I’d say pick it up if you get the chance, but don’t go out of your way to read it. I may pick up more by Harper in the future, even though this short graphic novel was a bit of a dud for me. It wasn’t all bad.
If you’re exceptionally curious about this book, you can pick up your copy form Book Depository here for $7.98.
Sorry to have ended the week on a bit of a downer review. I hope your weekend treats you much better than this book did me. I’ll be back on Sunday with my usual review!