Warning: cranky review ahead! I have to admit, I would never have picked up this book on my own, but it is on my reading list for a graphic novels class I am taking at Dominican University. Did I have an epiphany after reading it, and am thankful I was forced to go out of my comfort zone? No…for it was a really weird book.

In fact, I wouldn’t even label it as a graphic novel; it is comic book with loosely related themes throughout it. Such themes are: food, cute animals, and peeing all over yourself. The summary states that it will skewer foodie subculture, but that’s not what I took away from it. But a fault I have always had is my practicality. Sometimes I miss the big picture, because I get hung up on a certain detail that I can’t let go. I will be interested to go to class on Sunday and hear what my classmates have to say about this quirky book.

So back to the book- the illustrations are just not very attractive. Now, I am not against pictures that are sketchy and capture the essence of the idea, even if they are not truly very precise in nature. I enjoyed Hyperbole and A Half and Adulthood is a Myth, two novels that were uncluttered and simple in layout. But both those books organized the story and/or strips into a cohesive narrative, and I feel this book just flits from one topic to another. Part travel log, part food diary, part surreal dream fragments; this book is hard to categorize. The author, Lisa Hanawalt, obviously loves animals, and draws many animals in an anthropomorphized manner, with birds being her specialty.

Before you think I hated the book, I didn’t, for I laughed out loud in several areas. In regards to the aforementioned peeing all over yourself comment, she just draws what many people (or maybe just me and the author) think about while we use public restrooms. My college friends and I are planning a girls weekend to some Michigan wineries, so when I saw the menstrual barcycle picture, I imagined my friends (we can get a bit rowdy when we’ve had a few drinks) making fools of ourselves. That image alone made the book worthwhile for me.

So if you can’t tell already, I’ve had a crappy day and am taking it out on this book. Sorry, not sorry, Hot Dog Taste Test. The author had a wicked sense of humor, and I think I’d be her friend, but I just wasn’t sold on the format of the book.

-Nancy

 

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