Lizzie's Reviews > Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale

Forget Sorrow by Belle Yang
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Apr 08, 2010

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bookshelves: 2010, comics, nonfiction, early-reviewers, memoir, sold-to-the-strand, new-and-exciting
Read from April 13 to 19, 2010

I won this copy via LibraryThing's Early Reviewers. So it goes!

I liked this. The family story is nice, and the atmosphere is really strong. I liked seeing a lot of everyday-life stories about early 20th-century China, and these make the book very illuminating. RIYL Persepolis-es. The family relationships are cool, but this narrative is a tad bland at times, as nonfiction can be when it isn't exceptionally well-structured. It's hard to give a fantastic climax to real life. Don't we know it!

My favorite parts were the meditative conversations the author's grandfather and great-grandfather had, and their parallels with Belle and her dad, which elevate the book to something rarer and more special. Those lessons are good. "I'm just going in circles. I'm stuck."/"If your soul achieves peace, you can attain your goals." And especially: "Do not become attached even to your anger."

The theme that Belle is hiding at her parents' to escape an abusive, stalking boyfriend and recover from her terror -- it sets up her opportunity to be told this story by her father, but I was frustrated by the framing sometimes. It's maybe a little too important to be such a small player in this story.

The ARC has some copy issues that will need to be cleaned up, so hopefully there won't be many problems in the first editions. There's some misaligned type (words that don't fit into their bubbles), some asterisks that don't have follow-up notes, some panels where the person in the inset says, "Inset: [whatever I am saying!:]" Also, one panel looked like it had an accidental run-in with the "eraser" cursor in Photoshop. But I could read around those easily enough. And I'm pretty glad I did so.
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