Theresa Reifon's Reviews > The Tale of One Bad Rat

The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot
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Format/Length: Graphic novel; 136 pages

Award(s)/Distinction(s): Eisner Award

Theme(s): Survival, sexual abuse,confronting one's demons/past,change, courage, inner struggles, change, meeting challenges


This graphic novel brings up very serious issues, sexual abuse and suicidal thoughts, through the main character Helen. Helen was sexually abused by her own father. Besides being wrong by her biological father, it is apparent that Helen was not wanted by her mother. All of this combined together led Helen to have a hard time trusting others, and who could blame her?!?! By the end of the story, Helen came a long way from where she was at the start of the story- a young, runaway girl with a pet rat. Helen finds herself a place to stay and finally has some stability in her life. Eventually Helen feels safe enough and decides to a confront her own parents.

When I picked out this graphic novel from the library, I had no idea what the topic of the book was. I really feel like this book shows a serious topic in a way that truly transcends to its readers. I also feel that using this book within a middle school or high school classroom can lead to great discussion amongst students.

Writing Instruction:
Besides using this book for discussion, I also feel that it could be used in a writing assignment where the students compare and constrast Helen to a character from another book they have read.

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