Banned Book Club is an interesting book. At first, I was not sure I liked or understood it. Yet, once I got deeper into it, I realized what was going on. I did wonder if this was based on anyone’s experiences, or a general look at the time. It is both. It is based on Kim Hyun Sook’s experiences and several experiences of others pulled into one story to protect those involved. Ko Hyung-Ju and Ryan Estrada due their parts to bring this graphic novel to life.
‘This is not just a book about South Korea in the early 1980’s. It is not even about a bunch of college students who protest something/some things they think are wrong. It is about what is right and what is wrong. It is about what is hard and what is easy. And honestly, there is no black and white.
Which leads me to the illustrations. I admit, I did not care for the black and white art completely, but it does set a tone that is needed for the book. The anime look of the people and places is almost lighthearted compared to the theme (dealing with corruption, censorship, the above right/wrong and what is easy vs. hard when it comes to the right/wrong thing). It all comes together in a powerful, not always hopeful, story. The people come to life. And when you start learning about each character you might have more sympathy for some than at first you would think and some less than you originally considered. There is also a small, but obvious, storyline dealing with GLBTQ+ characters. It might not seem exactly important at first, but it just another piece of the puzzle of the atmosphere that is around these characters.
If you want to make a comparison of how history always can and will repeat itself, this is also a great commentary of current events. This is a good 14 and up due to some language, violence by police and the protesters themselves, even a little sex if only implied in a not so subtle way.