As seen in the comment field from this week’s Hangover Thursday; there was a request to review a short graphic novel. Up until this point at That F’ing Monkey we’ve mostly hyped about things we really like or complained about things we didn’t. There hasn’t been much actual reviewing. So I thought long and hard the other night on how to do reviews. At one point I was going to award up to five pint glasses as a score (like so and so gets 3 and a half pints out of 5). But I find reviews with scores or grades end up being skimmed down to the bottom to see how it rates. So instead I’m going to write about my thoughts and feelings when doing a review and leave behind any type of scoring system.
9/11 heartbreaker by Craig Staufenberg is a change of pace from the normal books talked about here. There are no swords, superheroes, or monkeys. In fact I was a little nervous by the title. Living in Florida, I understand the loss of life in 9/11 is a tragedy but I know a total of one person who was even in the state of NY at the time. I was worried that I might be a little too distant from the material for it to really have an impact.
I was wrong, it definitely has impact. In fact after I read it, I spent the rest of the night thinking about it. The story begins as the main character meets Peter at a karaoke bar. Peter tells her that he records young people’s memories of 9/11. That is the part of the plot you’re getting from me. Not because there is some grand twist you’ll never see coming, but because of how thought provoking the rest of the journey is. History, legacies, and personal memories become intertwined.
The art style is simple, yet manages to still be expressive. Sometimes there are backgrounds, other times the backgrounds consist of just solid colors. The panel layouts can be at times creative, but more importantly are always easy to follow. The text all appears to be handwritten. It makes the book feel like you are reading through someone’s journal. Peering in on the main character’s private thoughts makes the entire experience seem even more intimate.
In case it isn't obvious at this point, I really enjoyed the book.
Digital copies of 9/11 heartbreak are 2.99 and print copies are 4.99. The print copy is 28 pages. You can order either version from this link: http://memoryisfiction.com/?page_id=67
Check it out for yourself, come back, and let me know what you thought. It may make you reevaluate the memories you hold on to.