Jessica's Reviews > A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge

A.D. by Josh Neufeld
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Dec 10, 2010

really liked it
Read in December, 2010

I read this book for a class project in which I designed my own book discussion group centering around graphic novels. I picked up this one because it was on a list of great graphic novels for teens, and because I was intrigued by the idea of a nonfiction graphic novel. A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge is based on the author's interviews with survivors of Hurricane Katrina. The story takes place in the days leading up to, during, and several years after the storm. He tells the tale from the perspective of seven individuals of various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. There is the doctor who stays in his house in the French Quarter, knowing that it will remain safe, and even throws a "Hurricane Party." There is the Persian man who stays behind to defend his store and quickly realizes that he is literally in over his head. There is the couple (who Neufeld clearly identifies with most) who lose everything, including the man's 15,000-title comic book collection. Most hauntingly for me, there is the family stranded at a hospital, without food or water, who see sick children turned away for lack of space and resources. It's a deeply moving portrait of Hurricane Katrina. It made me sad and angry, and it also brought a voice to the looters who pillaged the stores in search of food and medicine ("They're more organized than FEMA," one character says). Reading the personal stories of each person made Hurricane Katrina more real, rather than reading statistics.

This graphic novel is great for reluctant readers (in my opinion) because the language is not too sophisticated (since it's mainly verbatim from the author's interviews with the subjects) and there isn't too much text per cell. The art is also great but simple enough that your eye doesn't get confused. Also a quick read--read the whole thing in an hour or so. There's a fair amount of cursing and some emotionally heavy stuff, so maybe this is more appropriate for older teens.
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