The graphic novel Work-Life Balance by Aisha Franz and translated from German by Nicholas Houde is an Emotion Book. Not an emotional book, but an Emotion Book. Well, it is both. You come away with feels after you see the feelings, actions, and missactions of the four characters of Franz’s book. Some of those feelings are good, some bad, some really icky, and some are “What The Flaming Monkey Toots” did I just experience????
The art (according to the publisher description) is “striking” and I say down right trippy. It is an organized chaotic thing. The switching of styles (not only from each charter but the “new chapter” announcement) is both interesting and off putting. There are two styles you will encounter. The main one is the story itself. This is abstract, yet you can tell what is happening, even if things are more cartoon and unrealistic. Each of the three characters has something that sets them apart from the other two (how they look, the colors used to show you flashbacks and now, plus how they always have the same pattern/scheme to them/their sections), yet you can tell the same artist is creating them. The second part is the “chapter change” that looks as if it is a sketch from a sketch book that is lined and is colored in with colored pencils. These images are almost completely realistically drawn and mostly pastel colors.
A reviewer on Goodreads said the book was “uncomfortable” from the art style to the “themes and scenes depicted.” And “the ideas are all out in the open but no satisfying resolution is given.” And another said that they had more fun than expected. And I agree. There is a lot happening in a deceptively easy looking/feeling/moving story.
This is not for a casual reader of graphic novels or for someone looking for a “solid” start/middle/ending to their graphic novel/ or reading in general. Mature situations and concepts make this “artsy” but not “unreachable.” And while that reviewer said it was uncomfortable, I would say some images/concepts are downright disturbing. I averaged out my review to a three as it had everything from a negative rating to a rating of infinity for me. It was amazing, horrific and something in between. The right reader will get everything and the wrong one gets nothing.