Top critical review
Not under my Christmas tree!
on December 4, 2003
This book gets so much praise, it makes me want to write a few words about it myself. I bought this after reading a lot of positive reviews, and had in mind of giving it away for Christmas present. There has got to be something good about a book that everybody gives best grades, right?
But when I read it, I think maybe it gets all this praise just because it is a graphic novel showing big amition. It is well drawn and very many pages. To people with a big interest in graphic novels, this is of course a big thing. Comics fans probably has been waiting for a book like this to come out. A big, well drawn book with an epic with depth and emotion, suitable to convincing non-belivers about the medium's greatness.
But I want to say, that it does not necessarily appeal to everyone. The story is a bit sentimental and predictable. What does the story tell us? That it is hard growing up, OK. Some people who likes Daniel Clowe's "Ghost World" and may find Thompson's version of teenage angst a bit naïve and puppy eyed in comparison.
This is a pretty nice story, with neat artwork. I'm just trying to point out, that there is room for a lot of different tastes and directions in the art form of graphic novels. Nowadays I think many people doesn't have too much prejudice about comics - the media isn't the important thing, but the content is. Personally I like storys like Adrian Tomine's and Daniel Clowes', artists who may have more in common with film directors like Todd Solondz and Paul Thomas Anderson than with Craig Thompson. I'm not saying Clowes should be the measure to all new comics, but in comparison Thompson's story here reminds me more of some made for TV harmless drama.
What I mean is, just try to forget about the medium, and what you have here is a predictable and sweet, traditional and quite nice story about growing up, that doesn't say anything new unless you haven't read to many stories about growing up.Or, of course, if you're about to grow up yourself. If I wanted to persuade any of my friends that graphic novels are't nessecarily boring, this is actually not my choice of book to give them.