Genre: Graphic Novel/Magical Realism
Release Date: February 2015
Source: Library – Borrowed
David Smith has given his entire life to his art and is craving recognition. He’s poured his heart, soul, and well-being into his work, and still he can’t pay his rent, can’t afford his bills, and can’t get anyone to purchase/display his art. He’s spiraling out of control and all it takes is a stunt performed by some street artists to send him collapsing over the edge. He finds himself in the gutter and searching for a way out. That way out comes through a woman from the street performance. Unfortunately, she came too late, as David has already signed a deal with death to be able to create anything with his hands, but, by doing so, resigns himself to only 200 days to live. Did he open Pandora’s Box, or will David get exactly what he’s always wanted? Or perhaps it’s a bit of both?
So, um, that synopsis barely even covers anything that happens in this large graphic novel. There is so much more. So, so, sosososososo much more.
And, O.M.G. did this book hit me hard. I had no idea what to expect going in, and, wow, I was taken on a journey. Evie @justanotherbelle recommended it to me ages ago, and I immediately knew I had to read it. I frequently stared at it and sometimes even grazed it with my fingertips longingly at the bookstore. But, I could never find it for less than around $25-30 and couldn’t justify the purchase.
So, when I finally spotted it at the Library, I snatched it up quicker than you can say artist.
I was so ready to read it, so I dove right in and this book utterly destroyed me.
I read another book by Scott McCloud when I was in college, but it was his nonfiction book Understanding Comics, which was a really interesting read, but did not at all prepare me for the new journey I was about to take with this story.
I don’t even know where to start with this book. This story was intense, sad, scary, gripping, heartbreaking, and incredibly beautiful.
The storyline was a very interesting one and felt very much like nonfiction, but there were many fantastical elements that intensified the story. Given this is why I’ve chosen to classify it as magical realism. This is very much a story about life and coming to terms with the choices we make and the impacts we leave behind after death–this story mainly focusing on the life of an artist and wanting to leave impactful evidence that he had created something to leave behind after his death.
This story is not just about art, though. It is about life, how life plays out (usually very differently than we expect it will) and very much about death as the ever-looming presence that drives us. It is about legacies and how we want so badly and work so hard to leave them.
Like I said, this is not a light read, and, even though this is a graphic novel, it is a big one and heavy in more than one sense. Do not pick this up if you are looking for a light read. Also do not pick this up if you are not ready to sob into your pillow for like an hour after you’ve finished.
Maybe it’s just because I’m a writer and creator, but I really connected with the main character and his thoughts, feelings, and struggles. I also understand why he makes many of the choices he does. His character is so dimensional. He is so many things and it makes perfect sense how he can be all of them at once.
It’s not just our main character that is hashed out, though. All the characters play an engaging part/role in the story. Every single one moved me in some way or another. I ached for them and felt their humanity or lack of it. Their struggles and choices and lives felt real.They felt as if I could have reached out a hand in consolation to touch them.
Finally, I adored how the fantastical elements played their roles in the story. The things that were happening felt like they could actually be happening in the real world, as if it made perfect sense that these forces should and do exists–magic happening around us all the time. The magical realism in this story as a way to emphasize the choices and plot directions of this story happened so naturally in and throughout the story. (I just really like magical realism, okay?)
Overall, this book is an examination of how we make choices, how we react to the things that happen around us including the many that are not our choice or perhaps are the consequences of our choice, and how to live even in the presence of death.
I highly, like so highly, recommend this book to everyone and anyone, but especially to artists. This book broke my heart and left me feeling empty, and hurt, but most of all inspired. The way this story spoke to me and affected me was unexpected, but, after crying it out, I immediately wanted to experience it all again. I regret not splurging and buying my own copy.
Thank you again to Evie who recommended such a beautiful book that I had no idea I needed in my life to me! ❤
Book Depository – $19.64
(Splurge, it’s worth it!)
Up Tomorrow: We’ll see, but I’m going to try and do a tag and a review. Have a great holiday everyone!