OMG, y’all. This book. Y’all. This. book.
Whenever a ton of people tell me I absolutely MUST read a book, I end up getting a little anxious because I’m sure it somehow won’t live up to expectations, and then I’ll get this weird guilt that I must not have “gotten” it and will disappoint everyone by not liking it enough. I’m neurotic, okay?
Well, I shouldn’t have had this worry at all with this one. This book is so amazing. It’s empathetic (Ferris clearly understands being neurotic, for example), and funny, and terribly sad, and deeply layered.
And it’s beautiful. It’s so absolutely beautiful. I had to include extra illustrations here just to provide examples, so find those at the bottom. I found myself constantly torn because I wanted desperately to find out what happened next, but I also wanted desperately to spend a good five minutes closely examining all the details in each and every page.
Karen is a young girl who is convinced she is a monster, or at least that she should be a monster. Her neighbor, a mysterious woman with a traumatic history, is murdered and Karen is determined to find the killer. The story is peppered with all kinds of details about Karen’s family life, her other neighbors, her experiences at school, the neighborhood (uptown Chicago), and so much more. It touches on civil rights, the Holocaust, sexuality, and all manner of other topics: Ferris has created a world as detailed as her art. And it’s a world I want more of.
Which is lucky, because this is just part one of two! I didn’t know that going in, so I was both pleasantly surprised and also incredibly frustrated (I have to wait months to find out what happens) when I got to the end and discovered it was, in fact, just the middle.
Anyway, everyone should absolutely read this, as soon as you can get your hands on it. Savor it. Graphic novels like this only come around every so often.