A fun, whimsical tale of Mirka, an 11 year old Orthodox Jewish girl. You get a peek into daily life in an Orthodox household, with a bit of "is it dre...more A fun, whimsical tale of Mirka, an 11 year old Orthodox Jewish girl. You get a peek into daily life in an Orthodox household, with a bit of "is it dream or reality (at least, fantasy reality)?" whimsy.
It's a Junior Fiction Graphic Novel, so it is a simple tale simply told.(less)
Here's how I rated this: "Three... well, I could give it a four."
It took me a bit to realize that the book had been translated from French into English...moreHere's how I rated this: "Three... well, I could give it a four."
It took me a bit to realize that the book had been translated from French into English. I'm glad to have read it, but I wish I read French - I'd have rather read it in its native language.
The story is a girl's coming of age + coming out story as told through her journals after her death. It's bittersweet, a bit explicit, and sad. It was set in the 1990's, so it helped me to remember how vehemently anti-gay our own small Ohio community was when I was a teenager. The main character's behavior around her friends and her resistance to her sexuality made more sense, as she's struggling against not just other's prejudices, but her own.
(view spoiler)[ I didn't get her anger after Emma broke up with her girlfriend for her... why was she angry she was always waiting, when clearly that particular wait was over? I could see that argument coming just before the breakup, but not after it. That was the only note that struck me as off...but then that's assuming humans are rational creatures who behave as dictated by logic, which of course...they do not. (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I like the crossover to Tsubasa and Yuko's insight into people and their addictions/issues. I liked the differentiation between "real" fortune telling...moreI like the crossover to Tsubasa and Yuko's insight into people and their addictions/issues. I liked the differentiation between "real" fortune telling vs. "hack" fortune telling (not that I'm a believer in either, but it made for a better story).
So I always wondered about the title of this series. It sounds racy as heck, but it's a regular teen level Manga. I'm familiar with CLAMP's other work...moreSo I always wondered about the title of this series. It sounds racy as heck, but it's a regular teen level Manga. I'm familiar with CLAMP's other work & heard about this series through Tsubasa or I'd have probably never picked it up.
It turns out the "xxx" in Japanese represents blanks, so it'd be "____holic." Part of the witch's work is granting wishes; the wishes are sometimes tied to curing addictions, so the blank can stand for any number of things. The series itself is just called "holic."
The story: I enjoyed it, but would not buy them brand new. Too darned short for what you pay! I tore through it, felt there were a couple great "moral of the story" moments, liked the characters...but not enough to justify $11 an issue. Luckily I got them used for .50 a piece.
Initially the "I know it all already and I've made my judgments" element was starting to remind me of Guy Delisle's atti...more I'd say 3.5 stars, vs. 3, fyi.
Initially the "I know it all already and I've made my judgments" element was starting to remind me of Guy Delisle's attitude in North Korea, but thankfully throughout the book her perspective softened a bit and she realized she didn't quite have it all figured out. I didn't mind that she had opinions - it is her memoir, after all - but I have to admit if I'd been her traveling companion, I'd have been irritated with her constant critical commentary. I know that it came from the best possible intentions, but still, it was a relief when she had the realization that it's not a simple matter and neatly black and white.
I loved the mix of different views and perspectives and the educational value of the memoir. I have a better feel for the history of the area and appreciation for the conflict surrounding it.
And I, too, loved the Rabbi near the end of the book. He was fantastic! I also loved her banter with some of the people. The clip about doing the art for the group shirt... I felt her pain when the girl asked her if she could just "real quick" add a few things...(less)
Really liked it. It took me longer to work through than I anticipated and has a slightly random feel to it - some parts read like a short comic strip,...moreReally liked it. It took me longer to work through than I anticipated and has a slightly random feel to it - some parts read like a short comic strip, whereas some read like a chapter with a beginning/middle/end. It is a meandering visual travelogue, one could say.
I love the way he uses his art in the storytelling. In one case, he's following a group and they are just out of earshot, so their text bubbles are half on the page and you can't read what they're saying. I liked that visual emphasis.
I've always been clueless (and curious) about Jerusalem and I finished the book even more confused, but realizing that's pretty much the state of anyone looking in (and many looking out). SO I feel better about it. What a complex and amazing place it is, with people who all feel passionately that this is their land, a sacred land, and all factions struggle over it. It is awe inspiring, and not really in a good way.
I loved the note about the rental crosses you can carry up the hill...but someone has to carry them back down. There are a lot of interesting - and pithy - little observations. I liked his laid back narrative voice. He's just a regular guy in a complicated place. He's a stay at home Dad, which made for a unique and refreshing perspective.
A lot of great information, some perspective, and while the book touches on the seriousness and gravity of situations on the West Bank, it is not a dark or depressing book. I went looking for his book on North Korea today while I was at work, but it's gone missing off the shelf. d'oh.(less)
This book reads like a "dark days" catharsis for the author. You see little of the happier person he (theoretically) is today and a...moreNonfiction memoir.
This book reads like a "dark days" catharsis for the author. You see little of the happier person he (theoretically) is today and a whole lot of confused/afraid/angry child. Which is ok - I didn't get the feeling when I picked up the book that we were in for happy times, but it still seems worth noting.
I thought the story was going to be more about the event, trauma and "coming to terms" of having half his vocal cords removed without warning, but there was surprisingly little focus on this (though it is - still - a helluva thing to go through) & much more on his conflicted relationship with his mother and her internal turmoil. That story, along with her own mother's, has a Steinbeck flavor to it.
Good story, but sad. I can't say it's my favorite, but since when is someone's actual life a "favorite" or "not favorite"? Still, I can't say I enjoyed it or really felt I learned anything that moved me in any particular way. (less)
This one was a bit hard to take in. I understand his frustration and lack of comprehension of the culture & impatience towards the propaganda in N...more This one was a bit hard to take in. I understand his frustration and lack of comprehension of the culture & impatience towards the propaganda in North Korea, but I felt it was rude to act on it, particularly in pushing at his translators/guides who had done nothing wrong other than have the misfortune to get stuck with him. Even if you abhor the culture you are staying in, still, be respectful to the people in it while you're there. I cringed at those moments (and given some subtext in a couple, it may be that so did he), feeling he behaved like a teenager. Actually, in one frame, he draws himself squeezing a pimple, so I wonder if it wasn't a nod to the frame of mind he was in at the time.
And while I cringed at his outward behavior, I can't fault his inward observations. We're all unguarded in our own thoughts, and he chooses to express those honestly, regardless of how he might appear. The work wouldn't be a real travel-logue if he were less honest. Even if his attitude did come across self-righteous, his thoughts weren't unexpected or abnormal or too over the top. And I liked that he at least gave his guide a gift before he left.
And I will say - I definitely got a vicarious taste of how frustrating and downright boring that trip must have been.
I wish I could give it 5 stars - it was an interesting and curiosity indulging look into North Korea. But I don't think this is the author at his best. I liked his work on Jerusalem much better, as the humor came across as a bit irreverent, but not really childish. I will try his other books and see what I think of those.
Edit - I noticed one comment in the book from a reviewer remarked on how nonjudgmental the book was... did they read the same book??(less)
For those who might be initially confused at the book's (brutal) opening: Zahra's Paradise is a cemetery in Tehran. Zahra is also the name of a Canadi...more For those who might be initially confused at the book's (brutal) opening: Zahra's Paradise is a cemetery in Tehran. Zahra is also the name of a Canadian-Iranian journalist murdered in Iran & the main character's mother.
This graphic novel explores political unrest in Iran from the civilian point of view. A teenage protester goes missing during a 2009 political rally and his Mother and brother set out to find him.
One particular focal point is the brutality of Evin Prison where arrested protesters were kept. Absolutely horrifying. At the end of the book is a large index of information regarding the purpose of the book, history, definitions and context and a list of 16,000+ murdered political prisoner's names... along with a chart comparing executions by country (U.S. 49, Iran 240+, China topped the list in the 1000's).
The book seems destined to be not just an education for Western cultures on the struggles of Iranian people against their own government, but a symbol of that struggle and the movement to change it. The creators of the graphic novel have an election running for the character, "Zahra" - a woman they call "the real candidate" - who is against the atrocities described in the book: Vote for Zahra Website
While Zahra is fictional, her story is based on a real story. I did not know until after reading the book that the scene at the cemetery was based on a video of a woman's grief stricken rant.
Zahra the journalist is also mentioned (along with her violent death and her family's inability to retrieve her body for proper internment) as is Neda Agha-Soltan who was shot during a protest & became a symbol of unrest (google her for the video - there is also a documentary & book on her). I think the raised cell phone on the cover is an allusion to her death, as photos of her were held aloft on cell phones & the video of her death became viral on the internet.
A few good sarcastic/satirical jabs work their way into the story as well. The screwdriver vs. Iranian nukes was great.
One more thing I appreciated: There's a lengthy explanation of context regarding "Alluha Akbar." I had already gathered from its use throughout the book that this phrase that is so often cliché'd as a terrorist's last words perhaps had a little more depth to it than what we've learned. The write up helps clear that up further.
My personal reaction: I found it educational and curiosity provoking. It was immensely sad and it does do an excellent job reinforcing my deepest gratitude for the freedoms we have here in Canada and the U.S.
I'd recommend this book for people who want to understand a bit more about what is going on out in the world & more about the political unrest in Iran. (less)
I stumbled across this on the shelf looking for Persepolis and was intrigued enough to check it out.
This was an interesting trip through Ellen Forney...moreI stumbled across this on the shelf looking for Persepolis and was intrigued enough to check it out.
This was an interesting trip through Ellen Forney's experience of being Manic/Depressive (BiPolar), diagnosis and her struggle whether or not to take medication in fear of losing her creativity. It gives some great information about bipolar disorder, the headache and expense of trying to treat it, the pros/cons of different medications, and how her body (and perspective) reacted to them.
I found it fascinating and informative and I applaud and appreciate how candid it was. Might be a touch too candid for some - I would suggest keeping expectations fairly flexible in that department.(less)
A view of Iranian life from the time of the Islamic Revolution up to the mid-nineties through the eyes of Marjane Satrapi. Persepolis is her memoir.
Za...moreA view of Iranian life from the time of the Islamic Revolution up to the mid-nineties through the eyes of Marjane Satrapi. Persepolis is her memoir.
Zahra's Paradise gave a modern day view of Iran. Persepolis gives a little history and context, particularly from the feminine viewpoint. It is amazing to see where they were before the revolution, and where they are in the mid-90's (if you include Zahra's, up to 2011). It seems it is such an incredibly rich culture that has had the life, romance and color sucked from it to the point of near desiccation. And such repression can't possibly last, can it? From what I saw of Zahra's Paradise and this novel and a recent video of an Iranian woman crawling up on a tank to give the (then) president a piece of her mind, Iranian woman are not submissive or meek or unthreatening. They're educated and stubborn and if not overtly in rebellion, subversively so. That can only be bottled up so long.
Saying that, I had the feeling, finishing the book, that I knew nothing before...and now I *know* how ignorant I am. So take my commentary with a grain of salt, as I freely admit it may be all kinds of dented....but this is what I feel I see.
The people in the book: I really liked her parents and uncle, and I loved her Grandmother - and I think that was intended. Marjane portrays herself without a sense of glossing over her failures and shortcomings. I had the feeling of sitting in on a candid interview with someone who is very direct and even sometimes a bit brutal in her self-portrayal. I didn't get the feeling of being asked to sympathize & felt her relation of her own life and actions was fairly unsentimental. It was clear to me her sentiment was reserved for her immediate family and those are the characters who really shone in the book.
Overall: I found it educational, and sad. Recommended for those interested in Iranian culture/memoir and feminist/human rights issues. Perhaps also those who have read Cheryl Strayed's "Wild," if you enjoyed her brutal self-honesty. (less)
I'm giving it 2 stars based on my personal reaction, rather than the quality of the book itself, so take with a grain of salt. The story is a creative...moreI'm giving it 2 stars based on my personal reaction, rather than the quality of the book itself, so take with a grain of salt. The story is a creative idea, if gruesome, and well executed (haha). It's kind of morbidly funny, but just not really my cuppa tea.
It's kind of like Stephen King's Freakshow meets Garbage Pail Kids. Take that how you will...