As I do most every trip to Target, I swung through the books, including the children’s books (hope to be a dad someday soon and wanna have books ready to go) and stumbled across this one. The cover caught me just out of the corner of my eye as I was passing by, so I read a couple pages and bought it based on that sampling. What I didn’t realize was that Target had sort of miscategorized the book; Jeffers had intended this not so much for children but moreso for an older audience.
Now having read it from start to finish, I can safely tell you that categorization is true. The vast majority of this would go completely over a kid’s head, unless they’re a precocious little bugger. He uses a childlike scrawl that you’d expect of a kid’s picture book, but the words he writes with it have a profundity that took me aback. And the art, while similarly childish, looking as if it were drawn with crayons by an advanced middle schooler, manages to be surprisingly beautiful in its simplicity.
Begin Again makes you truly think about “how we got here and where we might go” as the subtitle states, and Jeffers doesn’t hold back. We touch on the good, the bad, the uncertain. And the message he leaves you with in the end is a simple one, yet still a powerful one. After finishing the book, it was one of those instances where I couldn’t help but just sit there and ponder what I’d just read for a good couple minutes before moving on with my day. I’d planned to move onto reading something else right after, thinking this was just a kid’s picture book, and instead I was floored by an unexpected, modern-day classic. I feel as if I can safely say that, when all is said and done this year, this book will land in my top 3 of the year.