jess's Reviews > Local

Local by Brian Wood
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Apr 25, 09

bookshelves: 2009, graphic-novels, fiction
Read in April, 2009

This oversize graphic novel is a collection of 12 issues of Local, and 12 years in the life of Megan McKeenan. Megan's got a serious case of wanderlust, and drifts to 12 cities in 12 years, setting down roots and ripping them back up. In the end, she faces the ghosts of people she left behind, and finds a little peace in standing still. Megan raises questions of identity, community, trust, friendship, and motion. Her trajectory starts in Portland, OR, then she slips through Minneapolis MN, Richmond, VA, Missoula, MT, Halifax, NS, Brooklyn, NY, Tempe, AZ, Wicker Park Chicago, IL, Norman, OK, Austin, TX, Toronto, ON, finally settling into rural Vermont in her mother's old house as she hits her 30s. Yes, Norman, OK. I've been there once or twice.

The book is about Megan, but it's also totally not about Megan. Megan becomes the projected screen where you can experience different cities and lives, a sort of new-American every person without being cloying or forced. In one chapter, she tries on different name badges and personalities, outright denying the "Rachael" of the week before to a guy she flirted with. In another chapter, artifacts of her life are stolen from her apartment to become an art exhibit for a graduating art school senior.

Ryan Kelly's drawing style really did it for me. I liked the darkness of the frames, and the beautiful way that silence took up time. In graphic novels, silent moments can get totally bulldozed as the reader flips, flips, flips past pages without dialogue, but the illustrations were dense with information, so many easter eggs in the background, and it made time move at a realistic pace (for me).
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