I was given a readers copy of this graphic novel. I was curious about it due to the interesting cover, and I like biographies told in graphic novels. And even if it was going to be a story/memoir like book, and not a “true” biography, I still thought it was going to be informative. I finally picked it up because I was looking for something easier to get into. I needed a break from the mess of novels that I had found myself tangled in (and unable to finish).
Unfortunately, Bronte by Manuela Santoni did not pan out as I expected. It was a little awkward in places as it felt like you jumped into the middle of the Bronte sister’s story. You are reading a book that is already in progress. And while the action (though not traditional) moves logically, you need to know the background of the family to understand comments and references (such as who was the professor that inspired the novel, The Professor). We are getting a picture of when the Bronte sisters are adults, having had experiences and convinced each other to publish their poetry, then their novels. There is a bit about not wanting their “female personas” out to the public and therefore being judged by gender and not talent. And even a story about their only brother and his misadventures. The oldest siblings are not mentioned, nor a lot about their father. The voice telling the story changes at the almost end, and while it is similar, it was a tad jarring.
In the end, while it shows the lives of the Bronte family, there are missing pieces and ends up feeling like (what I assume) an episode of the Kardashians was like (the bickering between them, the drama behind the scenes and the scandals). If you are looking for a true biography, this is not it, but if you are looking for an artistic take on the siblings and their lives, this is what you probably need. I would pair it with Charlotte Bronte: Before Jane Eyre by Glynnis Fawkes which is more of a biographical look at Charlotte and can help fill in pieces of the Santoni’s work.
I chose the quote for my review title because it just happened to “fall in my lap” while I was looking at a Rebel Girls day-to-day calendar, and it really is the one thing that comes across in this book. No matter what I think of it, the Bronte family were Frank Sinatra and did it their way.
I cannot give an age range for reading, but will say it is for the person who is a fan of the sisters/family Bronte and is not necessarily for the casual reader and/or knowledge of the subjects.