Most helpful positive review
Interesting look at Young America's Values (not unlike Y2K+)
on January 27, 2004
Well, first of all, I have to say I'm really surprised by the people who don't like this book. Certainly I don't expect it to be universally loved, but I really disagree with the reasons I've read below. For example, one reviewer criticized it by calling it a "book of ideas." Yes, exactly! And not your run-of-the-mill ideas either. I found it very inventive, original, thought-provoking, and culturally/historically accurate. That's a lot to pull off in less than 100 pages--pages that are largely taken up by drawings. Pictures do say 1,000 words. Second, I completely disagree with the reviewer who noted that you have to know something about Jewish stereotypes. I'm a black African female living in 21st century America, and I had no difficulty understanding the stereotypes or warped values behind them. Maybe it would be safer to say that you need to understand or have been exposed to some type of stereotype in your lifetime. But I have to think that most people who would even pick up this sort of book, would be literate enough to know that the stereotypes depicted, are exactly that. I even disagree that the page layouts were difficult to read. I think if you have ever read sequential art, it's pretty straight-forward. And if you haven't, the process of figuring it out--and it really does become intuitive very quickly--adds to the telling. You *do* find the significance of certain details by kind of puzzling over the images and layout. So I guess if you need hand-holding narratives, then this probably isn't the book for you. But this is the first work by Katchor that I've read, and I am very impressed by his ability to say so much in so few words about capitalism, nature conservancy, race relations, religiosity, sexuality, theatre, etc. and how these things comprise /conflict with "progress" and the belief every age has that it is the epitomy of advanced human development.
I first heard of Katchtor when reading The Narrative Corpse, a story told by 69 artists and edited by Art Spiegelman. Unsurprisingly, a lot of people who had a negative reaction to it, had similar comments as can be found here. That the "story," as such, wasn't linear, etc. But again, I feel like those readers really missed the point. Anyway, I'll save that review for that book, but if you're not so hung up on context, that one is that you might enjoy as well, though the two books couldn't be more dissimilar.