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Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  3,109 ratings  ·  575 reviews
Rosalie Lightning is Eisner-nominated cartoonist Tom Hart's #1 New York Times bestselling touching and beautiful graphic memoir about the untimely death of his young daughter, Rosalie. His heart-breaking and emotional illustrations strike readers to the core, and take them along his family's journey through loss. Hart uses the graphic form to articulate his and his wife's ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,109 ratings  ·  575 reviews

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Dave Schaafsma
Jan 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: gn-memoir, grief, gn-grief
I have been sitting on writing a review of this book for a few days. In part because all the early reviews call it brilliant and well, I feel sorry for the guy, because he lost his two year old daughter and it seems downright mean to say anything other than all the praise that has been heaped on this book. Why turn critic on a guy in grief? Tom Hart and his also comics artist wife Leela Corman had a magical time with Rosalie, their daughter, until she suddenly and unexpectedly died around the ag ...more
Sara the Librarian
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Until you experience it there is no way to really conceptualize what it feels like to lose a child. Really there's no way to conceptualize losing a loved one period until you've gone through it. I think that's because of all the emotions we experience grief is the one that is truly the most personal and thus subjective. No one grieves in exactly the same way. I know there are supposed to be stages and we all cry of course but the way we experience and express loss and grief strikes me as unique ...more
The grief in this book tore out my heart. The tears were streaming down my face, but the emotion can never compare to what Tom Hart and his wife went through after the sudden and unexpected death of their daughter Rosalie. The author reflects on his memories of his daughter during the last few weeks of her little life. All the things she said, her drawings, the events she was apart of...all the accumulative retrospect that leads to crippling what if's, regret, and guilt. I can't imagine my son n ...more
Dylan Horrocks
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
I can't recommend this book enough. A deep breath, a slow opening of the soul, a gift of love. The final sequence is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. I could feel my heart unfolding, unclenching.

Tom Hart's been quietly making a mark in comics for more than twenty years: from his beautiful, poetic mini-comics in the 1990s to the smart, funny and deeply political Hutch Owen; The Sands; Daddy Lightning; Banks/Eubanks, etc etc. And for many years he's also been teaching - supporting
Jun 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Tom Hart overwhelmed me with this. I cannot begin to imagine a death of my child, nor do I want to. I cried buckets.
Charles Hatfield
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Comics don't often move me. That's a hell of a thing to say, coming from one who has staked a big chunk of his life and work on reading and talking up comics. It's true, comics engage and amuse me, often spark my thinking, often delight my eye, and sometimes thrill me. It's true that I enjoy reading them in ways that I find hard to put into words. But relatively few comics have pulled belly laughs out of me, and even fewer, far fewer, have moved me to tears, or to the point whe
Emilia P
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comic-books
I have...an ARC of this to review for a great publication right now. I am avoiding writing that review, because no review can do justice to how powerful this book is. Suffice it to say, it is pretty amazing, and gut-wrenching, and challenging, and a NECESSARY READ. I wish it could hurry up and come out for everyone, but it is SO WORTH THE WAIT guys. Pre-order it, get yourself on the library holds list while it's still "on order". Just. Read It. ...more
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
this is a touching and beautiful graphic memoir about the untimely death of tom hart's young daughter, rosalie. it takes readers along on his family's journey through loss and its aftermath, eventually finding hope again.

honestly this is such a difficult read and i really admire tom for sharing something personal and expressing oh so beautifully on things that are hard to talk about. i felt that the sections were a bit here & there but thats not really quite an issue as i still managed to follow
Lorilin || thegoodbug
I don't usually read graphic novels, but the description of Rosalie Lightning caught my attention, so here I am. I can't believe how powerful this book is. It is stunning. Heartbreaking. The text is incredible on its own, but coupled with the pictures...I mean, there are no words to describe it. Reading this book is pure feeling. All you do is experience the author's pain along with him.

Some of my favorite parts:

The part where he talks to a pregnant woman right after his baby dies, and he desc
In November 2011, Rosalie, the daughter of cartoonists Tom Hart and Leela Corman, died suddenly, before the age of two. Rosalie Lightning is Hart's beautiful, elegiac tribute to her short life, an account of the months surrounding the terrible event. In fragmented, poetic fashion, he sifts through the rubble of devastating grief, looking for answers, searching for solace, and finding little (“Your best memories are your biggest torments.”). Eventually he reaches a sort of shaky peace and moves s ...more
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very emotional graphic novel. This book is an homage from the author to his dead daughter that die when she was almost 2 years old. All in simplicity the author goes through the even and his grief process. Very touching and beautiful at the same time. Sad but worth reading!
Jonathan Bogart
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
I expected to be emotionally destroyed by this book, but I did not expect to be so impressed by its formal qualities that halfway through I almost forgot to wallow in second-hand grief and instead luxuriated in the beautiful simplicity and technical accomplishment of the visual choices. Tom Hart's always been a cartoonist's cartoonist, a Zen trickster who can wring a surprising amount of meaning out of rhythm and scribble (only they're not really two different things, they're scribble-in-rhythm, ...more
Suad Shamma
Dec 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019, graphic-novels, own
I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, and I don't want to be this horrible unfeeling person, but this book made me feel nothing.

I wanted to feel the grief, and the sadness and the heartbreak, but there was just something about the way it was written, the way it was illustrated, the way he went on about his dreams, and went on about the financial issues and the house not being sold and his wife's book deadline that took so much away from the actual grief, the actual death of his only c
Sharon Siepel
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
How do I even begin to describe this book? It is like soul spilled on paper. The graphic novel is so very real and transparent that I found my heart breaking in million times over. Yet through this terrible, tragic journey there is the joy named Rosalie and the strength and tenderness of Tom and Leela's relationship. Reading this took my breath away and punched me in the stomach. And I would read it again. ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tear-jerker, memoir, death
Heart breaking. I never realized when I picked this book up at the library it would be about the death of the authors little girl, I knew nothing of it other then it was a graphic memoir. I cried the entire book and all I could think was 'I can not wait for my little girl to come home this evening, I need to hug her'.

My heart aches for those who have lost their children.

Well this was probably the most depressing story I’ve read in my entire life. Trigger warnings for the death of a child and a very deep discussion of said death
This one was hard to rate because how do you judge someone's tragedy, especially one that no parent would ever want to face? It's almost like saying your story wasn't that sad but in essence that is what I'm about to sound like even though it is not my intention.

The author's daughter dies suddenly and unexpectedly when she is a baby, maybe 1 or 2. I was a little confused because the age really never gets mentioned, it's only implied, even towards the end of the story. However, I kept picturing a
Elizabeth A
Jan 23, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a tough book to review as I have very mixed feelings about it. Death, and the grief that accompanies it is very personal, but also very universal. It is the one thing that all humans have in common. We will die. And people we love will die.

This graphic memoir is about the death of a daughter at the age of two. Rosalie's death is unexpected, and I can imagine maybe all the more devastating for it. In this memoir, the author takes us through the emotional and physical journey he and his w
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Told with such power. This book, even Rosalie herself, reaches in, grabs your heart, and rips it out.
Kelli Trei
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Took a bit to write this review. This book wrecked me, took me back to losing a family member. It's good, honest, true, but it's hard. ...more
Loring Wirbel
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm grateful my wife raved so much about this singular graphic novel, because in a simple and direct way, it confronts the kind of grief that becomes a bottomless pit, a hole at the center of a life. Certainly, many of us have mourned the loss of parents, grandparents, or a beloved pet, but there is something particularly meaningless and final about the unexplained death of a young child.

Hart takes us on travels from New York to Gainesville to rural New Mexico as he tries to find a way to transc
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Zedsdead by: Goodreads
A semi-lucid graphic biography of the author's daughter Rosalie--who suffered an untimely death at age two--and his own subsequent trainwreck of grief and despair.

Rosalie Lightning was so bleak that at bedtime I switched to a GRRM book in which the heroes go mad and turn into ravening cannibals, so that I'd have an easier time falling asleep.

He mixes adorable anecdotes about Rosalie with glimpses of his despondence and hopelessness after her pointless death. It meanders confusedly, maybe a bit
Packed a similar emotional punch to Don't Go Where I Can't Follow. I didn't realize that Tom Hart was married to Leela Corman, who has also written some really powerful comics about the loss of their daughter. I think this hit be really hard because of the babies I know. My best friend just had a baby and Alicia's daughter is basically the same age as Rosalie when she died. Plus all the playgroup babies I see every week! It's hard not to think about those wonderful children when you read somethi ...more
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic, memoir
What is your worst nightmare? Mine, hands-down, is losing one of my children. I am sure I am not alone.
Here, the author documents, the loss of his daughter, who dies suddenly, just before her 2nd birthday.
Obviously, these parents are devastated and this shows the couple hit emotional rock-bottom and then gradually climb back to reclaim their lives.
This is a graphic memoir, illustrated in a stark, unflinching style, which perfectly matches the tone of grief and isolation.

It may not be an easy r
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
As a huge graphic nonfiction reader, I saw this on the shelf at the library and decided to give it a go. Though I read it in one sitting, it just wasn't for me. The narrative jumps around quite a bit - something that shows the grieving process well - but ultimately made it harder to follow for me personally. Because of that - and maybe other things I can't put my finger on - I just couldn't get a connection with the story.

While I didn't care for this book, I could see it being a good recommenda
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was beautiful and so heartbreaking. I mean, beyond heartbreaking. How do you cope with the loss of your child? Or do you? Tom Hart is so open and honest with emotions, you can't help to be right there with him, feeling what he is feeling. Reading Rosalie Lightning was like stepping into someone's despair and watching them muddle their way out of it, slowly, painfully, and beautifully, if that makes sense? Anyway, I would definitely recommend it. ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tom and Leela are artists whose baby Rosalie, not quite two, dies inexplicably. Tom's memoir of Rosalie's brief life and her parents' grief is unalloyed and gut-wrenching. It is as rare and beautiful as the soul who is celebrated therein. ...more
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I need more stars to give this book, it gets all the stars. It breaks my heart wide open.
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book just broke my heart.
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not a fan of the art style, but, man, what a gut wrenching read. This is the story of a couple dealing with the sudden death of their baby girl. Hart just lets it all out.
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Tom Hart is a critically acclaimed Eisner-nominated cartoonist and the Executive Director of The Sequential Artists Workshop (SAW) in Gainesville, Florida.

He is the creator of Daddy Lightning, and the Hutch Owen series of graphic novels and books.

The Collected Hutch Owen was nominated for best graphic novel in 2000. He won a Xeric Grant for self-publishing cartoonists.

He teaches sequential art

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