Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What I Read: This One Summer

I guess I should get around to making a "comics" (excuse me—graphic novels) tag for el bloggo, because I could have sworn I've talked about This One Summer on here before. I liked the sample pages I saw, and I wanted to see what the creators did with the chubby Windy.

Image courtesy First Second
I finally got the chance to find out when I noticed a copy in the YA section of a nearby branch of the Stockholm public library system. (Where I also picked up The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, but more on those later!) Not having anything better to do, I curled up in a chair and read the whole thing in one sitting.

It took me a little while to get into it, and even by the end I couldn't really tell you what I read. "A couple of girls spend their summer in a lake town," I suppose. Nothing really happens, and whether or not you're okay with that depends on your tastes and even your mood.

Of course, all the hyperbole surrounding the book doesn't help, either.

So I suppose I had certain expectations, and they weren't really met. But the art is gorgeous. My favorite part—the freeze frames of all the slash-y horror movies Rose and Windy watch are drawn almost hyperrealistically, while all of the "real" world is fairly cartoony. I like little touches like that.

And when it's December in Stockholm and you're a stressed-out adult, it's nice escapism to read about warm summer vacations on the lake. My family habitually stayed for a week in a hunting cabin up in the mountains near Rutland, Vermont, so all of the "lake vacation" elements hit a certain nostalgic element for me, though we kept away from the other residents and vacationers, so I never had a friend like Windy. (Or Rose? Rose is the main character, but I guess I'm more like a Windy.)

This reminds me a lot of Linda! Linda! Linda!, in that it feels like a nostalgic and distant retrospective rather than an in-the-moment story. If that even makes sense? Though This One Summer has significantly less Japanese punk rock and slightly less urgency (no impending talent show).

All in all, it's really well done but not what I was expecting. In particular, I wanted more from Windy's perspective (fat girls wanna see other fat girls in lit!). But I still think it's worth it just to enjoy Jillian Tamaki's art. It's juicy.

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