Thursday, June 16, 2011

Recommend Read: "Chiggers" by Hope Larson

I'm a little embarrassed to admit I haven't read many graphic novels. I mean, I've read the ones everyone reads (Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, Art Spiegelman's Maus, and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home...) but otherwise my repertoire is sadly limited.

Which is strange, because I used to love comics. When I visited my grandma in England as a kid during the 1980s*, I'd devour Asterix and Obelix stories, and I had monthly subscriptions to Heathcliff and The Get-Along Gang comics (if anyone else remembers the bizarreness that was the Get-Along Gang, WE MUST TALK). I also read various Archie digests and went through an X-men phase in high school and early college.

So why didn't I transition to graphic novels? It's a mystery, and one I'd like to rectify.

Last week I read Hope Larson's fantastic summer camp-set YA graphic novel, Chiggers. There's not a single moment in the book that isn't authentic. Right from the first line of narration -- "Being the first one at camp is like waking up first at a slumber party" -- I knew it was for me.

Everything about the story feels real, from the friendships, to the crushes, to worrying about whether you're normal, to befriending the "weird, possibly lying" new bunkmate no one else likes, to playing capture the flag and navigating the mess hall. Plus there's bonus material like diagrams on how to make a friendship bracelet, and the artwork is expressive and innovative, whether depicting the passage of time or mocking a parent's opinion about the evils of breaded food.

Read any good graphic novels lately? I'd love some recommendations.

*a fact which means I can never donate blood. I know because I've tried. So what do British people do?

1 comment:

  1. So I kind of got excited and thought you were bringing back a term from my early days about Asian gangstas...