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Graphic Novel Twofer: A Matter of Life / Zebrafish

December 30, 2013

It’s a graphic novel twofer today! This post has mini-reviews for A Matter of Life AND Zebrafish! Two reviews for the price of one! Lucky you!

97. A Matter of Life by Jeffrey Brown (2013)

Length: 92 pages
Genre: Memoir

Started/Finished: 17 December 2013

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I saw it on a list – maybe of year’s best graphic novels? or something similar? – but I cannot remember where. And it had a dinosaur on the cover!

Summary: A Matter of Life is a graphic memoir, dealing variously with the author’s losing his faith in the Christian God, his relationship with his father, and his relationship with his own son.

Review: There were some great moments in this book, and they came in all shapes and sizes. There were things that were phrased really well, things that were really touching, or really familiar, or really clever. (A particular favorite involved the narrator being asked if he had Jesus in his heart, followed a series of panels of a miniature Jesus stuck in a ventricle banging on the heart muscle.) I also really loved the artwork style; Brown is also the author of Vader’s Little Princess, which I’ve been eyeing. But there wasn’t an obvious through-line, a clear story thread, to bind all the moments together. Instead, it was a series of scenes that jump around in time, and I was left occasionally wondering if I was missing pages from my copy, because I was expecting slightly more flow than this book had. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: It’s a cute and touching memoir (or memoir-ish series of vignettes.) If you like other graphic memoirs, this one will probably be enjoyable as well.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

98. Zebrafish by Sharon Emerson (2010)

Length: 128 pages
Genre: General Fiction; Young Adult

Started/Finished: 18 December 2013

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? Random browsing.

Summary: Vita is new to school, and isn’t meeting many new friends, until she holds auditions for a band she wants to start. She’s got several people interested, but there’s only one problem: none of them really play an instrument. But they’re not going to let that stop them from becoming a success… and maybe changing the world in the process!

Review: This one was cute, and managed to be inspirational without being overly sappy about it, which was impressive. Plus, it featured an older brother who was a biomedical researcher, and talks about PCR machines, which pleased the biologist side of me. (Plus, someone did their research; the band’s stated goal turns out to be believably lofty yet achievable.) My problem with this book was that there wasn’t a huge amount of character development; each of their band members had their one “thing” and that was it. I think a little longer book would have made this a little meatier and more satisfying. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: It reminded me most strongly of Raina Telgemeier’s work, both in terms of artwork and general sensibility.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 30, 2013 1:40 pm

    I really need to get back to reading graphic novels. I read a bunch at the beginning of the year, but then kind of fizzled out which is really weird for me!

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