Roots deals with the interesting concept of well, Roots: the roots that are our family’s history, finding our place to finally set them down, and dying our hair.
This graphic novel is a sweet peek at Tara O’Connor after her divorce. Which of course, was not sweet, but even in the more somber moments, there is always a glimmer of hope. As the reader I had the feeling of reading her diary as Tara takes us through the journey of lost love and trying to find a connection to something.
While researching both of her “family trees” in Ireland, this New Jersey girl gets more than she bargained for. She did not just find out where she came from, but through a friend she finds love. She finds a place that feels like home. And she finds hope that things will and can get better.
Never mind that she is not a Bon Jovi fan, I liked her anyway. I liked her honestly without compromising herself by doing a tell all. I liked the simple illustrations that are expressive and frankly adorable. There is one panel where O’Connor and her friend are standing next to each other, and she looks about the size of a Smurf to his Golly Green Giant. The concept of their differences is obviously there, as the differences between Ireland and the States, but you nor she, dwell on those. You just see how compatible these two characters are, and how yes, you can see how she found Home.
One of the things I liked about this book (and there are many) is that she started out to write a graphic novel about discovering her family and it turned into a book about self-discovery. Yet, she still adds “fun facts” and “interesting facts” about her family (marriages, their immigration status, lack of birth records, but also knowing a several great grandparents had nine children). And I enjoyed the fact that she first did a Kickstarter campaign then had Roots published mainstream. I was glad I took the journey with her and might just go back and read Roots again, but for sure it needs a second read.
I found Tara O’Connor because of Fly by Night: (A Graphic Novel) and went to find all the other books she has illustrated (or should say, I’m still hunting for one more). And because of that, I will be following O’Connor whenever I can.