Josh's Reviews > It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken

It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken by Seth
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's review
Mar 10, 08

bookshelves: comics

There's little sense to make a big production about this book, but it was a yawner. The artwork was decent: Simple, round characters drawn with blue, black, grey and white and clearly affected how the piece was received. So good job for that. But I'm easy to please with art, I'm more interested in the writing.

The problem then is that the writing is trite. Coming of age itself is a difficult theme to address in a fresh way, and this book suffers from what I think of as forced epiphany seen in these types of myopic pieces.

Yes, it's tough to grow up and leave home even if we didn't exactly love it when we were there (or when we visit). I understand that love is hard to find when you're looking for it, and that it can fall in your lap when you're not. We get that returning to childhood's place, may years later, gets us in touch with who we have changed into and where we've come from. We're aware, of course, when dating goes wrong it's not "you", it's "me". And we understand and can relate to wanting to show ourselves in the story as the literate, discerning, intelligent, questioning human, above the claptrap and mindlessness of what society is now becoming (and has been marching toward for a very long time). But the author tries too hard and in the end doesn't pull it off. This is a person who does exist, but he just doesn't pull it off enough for me to care why.

In fact he spends so much time reflecting on youth now lost and other such generic expression of existential angst that the story within the story device of Seth searching out the elusive and obscure cartoonist "Kalo" falls under the weight of the main character, getting trampled underfoot by the autobiographer, the poor, sad, angry, lost, unhappy, forlorn, pensive Seth's pondering. (Did you find that a bit much? Redundant, excessive, superfluous? That's how it was reading this book). The part of the story that could have been interesting is lost in so much sap.
Man likes obscure artist, man relates to artist, embarks on a quest to know who the artist is, man finds out. But finds out what? And who cares? Alex Robinson tried the same thing in "Box Office Poison" and where he pulled it off, Seth could not.

To me, this book reads a bit like a creative writing piece you'd find from a more seriously inclined but still novice student in an intro to writing class. I'd grade it: "meh".


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