Jake's Reviews > Local

Local by Brian Wood
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's review
Apr 05, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: graphic-novels
Read in April, 2010

My public library has been displaying graphic novels in the worst possible place, above the reference shelves adjacent to the water fountain. This is the second graphic novel I have read in as many weeks as a result of that “Point of Purchase” approach to circulation. Happily, I am 2 for 2 on enjoying such impulse borrowing.

I didn’t fall in love with Local. I thought I might. It has a loner hitting the open road. She’s a survivor. She’s cute. She goes cross country and meets quirky people. What is more, unlike Alan Moore fare, the dialogue is sparing. The creators let the artwork tell most of the story. Still, despite some clever twists, the themes of this piece never rose too far above ordinary.

My chief disappointment is that I wanted the creators to make a stronger justification for the towns they had Megan visit. One of the selling points of this book is that each chapter takes place in a different town. That’s why I chose this gritty story over the other gritty covers on display at the library. Truthfully, most of these stories could have taken place in any town. For example, it didn’t matter that the Richmond Virginia chapter took place in Richmond. By late in my reading, this novel was on its way to only getting three stars.

Then I read the final chapter. And for several dialogue-free frames, the story became all about the protagonist hiking through Vermont, a state I’ve spent time in. It was a mesmerizing section that took me in, both for its beauty and direct contribution to the plot. Four stars. The story went from good to great when it took me somewhere.

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