A year and a half after the summer that changed her life, Maggie Thrash wishes she could change it all back. She's trapped in a dark depression and flunking the 11th grade, befuddling her patrician mother while going unnoticed by her father, a workaholic federal judge. The only thing Maggie really cares about is her cat, Tommi...who then disappears somewhere in the walls of her cavernous house. So her search begins… but Maggie’s not exactly sure what she’s lost, and she has no idea what she’ll find.
In her critically acclaimed memoir, Honor Girl, Maggie Thrash brilliantly, beautifully portrayed the before and after of first love. Lost Soul, Be At Peace is the ingenious continuation of Maggie’s story, bringing her devastating honesty and humor to the before and after of depression. It marks the return of a truly heartbreaking, visionary voice in graphic novels, and pushes her storytelling to astounding new heights.
This is how it feels to search for something that’s been lost forever.
Maggie Thrash grew up in the South. She is the author of the graphic memoir Honor Girl, which is her coming out story. Strange Truth and Strange Lies were inspired by her experiences at an exclusive prep school in Atlanta, where everyone had secrets.
You can also find her on lonercomics.com and on instagram @maggiethrash
I very much liked Maggie Thrash’s Honor Girl, an autobiographical YA novel about an important summer in her teenaged life. Lost Soul, also YA, is longer, more ambitious, a memoir about her junior year in high school. Thrash is a rich and privileged white kid, and this story seems in part about that: Growing up in a wealthy family in a year she is tanking in her elite private school, dealing with a bout of (mild? who can say?) depression and gaining some kind of—again—self-realization. She struggles to understand her rich, elitist, distant father, who is a judge, and her, rich, elitist, distant mother who talks a lot and likes to buy expensive stuff. Ugh. And oh, yes, her cat, Tommi, goes missing. This is all psychically upsetting for Thrash, and occasionally she seems to go in for a bit of humor about it. But I can’t figure out the overall tone of it, exactly.
I’m not used to reading memoirs about rich people, really. Thrash, at 17, seems to have a lot of time on her hands, and does nothing with it. At one point she goes to court to see how people who really suffer live, those that have actually experienced abuse. It turns out her Dad grew up poor, worked hard to be a successful judge, and now can write checks to get his slacker daughter into any expensive college she wants, regardless of how abysmally she does in school. And rather than adequately deal with the family he has left behind, he can leave an—again—blank check after a funeral to cover all expenses.
Thrash has come out as lesbian at school and is upset that no one in school seems to care. She is upset her parents don’t know that she messing up her grades in school is that she is depressed. No body notices her! And no one cares that her cat is missing, wah! Her mom is distant, her Dad is distant, and with the exception of a girl we know little about that seems attracted to her, she is also largely distant from everyone, too. And then she is visited by a ghost. But why should I care about any of this?
So okay, who is this ghost Thrash says suddenly hangs around her? Over time, it would seem to have affinities with both her and her father, whose alienation seems to be at the heart of Lost Soul, Be At Peace (This is what the ghost and Thrash say to each other at one point). But peace about what, exactly? What might peace mean? A struggle with how your roots shape you in certain ways? As a judge, Thrash’s Dad has to deal with lots of poor people—as he had once been—who do not seem to “rise above” their circumstances, as he did. Did Dad gain empathy from knowing poverty early on? Well, he largely deserted his own mother. The ghost, Tommy, is also poor, has to work while in school as Thrash never has. In Honor Girl, Thrash goes to a rich kid’s camp to find she is a lesbian; is Soul about her need to figure out the very beginnings of empathy, something kids like Tommy (also with an abusive Dad) more easily can do because they have actually had to struggle? If so, who cares?
I dunno. Either way, I'm still confused: Tommi is the name of the cat. Tommy is also the name of the ghost, but they are not the same thing. Is Tommy the name of the father, too? Or is it her missing uncle? I don't really know and I do not think it is clear. and this is a coming of age little rich girl story that would seem to be about depression, then forgets about addressing that topic pretty much altogether, really. I see at a glance that a lot of people seem to like this book, high ratings and all, but I am honestly confused about what the takeaway might be. The tone seems to shift: Are we supposed to find her talkative self-absorbed mother who is lost in the past (and present) largely funny? Are we supposed to really care about her distant check-writing Dad? And who is Thrash, finally? We really don’t find out much, really, except that she seems as distant as her mom and dad and wants to learn what most people in the working class world like Tommy already know about suffering.
I guess I can say that the book is about a (somewhat?) depressed and isolated teen who is struggling to understand herself and her parents, using the trope of the ghost to get at some of these issues, but I was not fully engaged. Felt a bit like a mess to me. There’s a Hamlet theme going through it, as it seems Thrash can’t write her English paper about the mopey self-absorbed Hamlet, being the mopey self-absorbed teenager she is. Ehhhhhh. Ok, I like the art and the Hamlet theme IF I take it as self-parody, but I honestly am not sure Thrash isn’t really thinking of herself seriously as Hamlet, doing that Dad-Hamlet theme. Well, I like the really inviting cover, anyway.
In the second graphic novel memoir (or sorts) that Maggie has written, I enjoyed this one much more. There's a ghost story in this one but also a sincere look at the things we sacrifice when we grow up, mental health, family dynamics, and the things we do to protect ourselves and our families.
Maggie took on a lot more with this graphic novel than her last. In this story we explore coming out in high school, hobbies, family, depression, the judicial system, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and the loss of innocence. I felt like all themes were well explored if not a little bit convoluted. We have a House of Leaves vibe in this story that felt a tiny bit...out of nowhere. But, I really did enjoy it! If you like Maggie's work or are looking for a "mostly" contemporary graphic novel that is a little spooky or dark, this might be the one for you.
Trigger Warnings: Sex trafficking, suicide, eating disorders, depression, the death of animals, body dysmorphia, death of a loved one, and parental abuse.
Hidden Gem: the typeset is Maggie Thrash...like she legit made her own typeface by (I'm assuming) using her own handwriting- so that's pretty awesome.
but nonetheless I loved this book. It's so funny and strange in places, but also a really moving emotional journey. I'm also not sure what to call this? It's less of a straightforward memoir than Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir was, and I think I like it all the more for that?
I was not expecting to really like this book when I first started it. Based on the synopsis I was expecting something like Neil Gaiman's Coraline. Per the author this is for the most part a memoir but it doesn't really feel like one because there are elements of the paranormal in here. Not that that can't happen to someone, but a cat that disappears through a hallway that suddenly appears out of nowhere and a ghost does not exactly scream out "true story".
At the start, Maggie is going through what seems to be a deep depression that never fully gets explored beyond the current way it's making her feel and how it is affecting the way she relates to her family and people in school. It didn't necessarily bother me not knowing where the depression stemmed for. Often times people may never figure out why they are feeling depressed. Changes in our lives can bring out depression. I would however have liked to know if her depression went away by the end of the book. It never seemed to get brought up as the book was ending. Maybe her self-realization pulled her out of it? I hope it did.
It was incredibly sad to see Maggie so lonely and out of touch with her world and especially with her parents. Her dad is a judge that only cares about his work and is oblivious to Maggie. Her mom doesn't really listen to her and may be a little ashamed of Maggie as she doesn't seem to live up to what she would like Maggie to be. The only thing that made her feel needed and made her happy was her pet cat who suddenly disappears through a hallway in her house that was never there before. Her quest to find him leads her to a ghost that lives through the hallway.
I don't want to give any more away as the story begins to reveal itself and we start to see a little of the past that has inevitably seeped into Maggie's life.
Beautiful cover and the coloring is also beautiful and soothing, which is kind of odd considering that depression seems to lurk throughout the story.
One of my favorite parts of working in a comic book store is when I'm putting away new releases, and I pick up a book that I would never have noticed in a store, and end up loving it.
I haven't read Honor GIrl because the art didn't grab me, but now that I've finished "Lost Soul, Be At Peace", it's moved to My Must Read List.
I just finished reading another graphic memoir where the author completely failed to connect with me, even though we are roughly the same age, and the subjects they were writing about are things that interest me. Having never been a teenage lesbian with a distant father who worked as a judge, having never had a ghost friend, and having been fortunate enough to never had a pet go missing for more than a day, this isn't a book I would seek out. But Thrash absolutely nails her narrative voice. She is never boring in the way she describes the events around her, and she shows heaps of empathy and understanding for characters, even when she's telling a story where most writers would label a character as an antagonist.
The clearest example was her distant father, who is often obscured by a newspaper at home, if he's portrayed at all. In order to get an extension on an English assignment, she asks her father to take her to Bring Your Daughter To Work Day, and in his office, in the courtroom where he presides, and during their lunch break, we get to see why her father seems distant in a way that doesn't feel emotionally manipulative or contrived.
This might be the best small scope (meaning it doesn't involve The Holocaust, war crimes, natural disasters, etc.) graphic memoir I've ever read. I recommend it to everyone. It would even make a great First Graphic Novel for someone who wants to try something other than superhero comics.
Lost Soul, Be at Peace is part memoir and part ghost story. Maggie Thrash walks us through some of her experiences during her late teens and how they have come to shape her as a person and understand her family.
This is a wonderful graphic novel - I did not anticipate the ending at all and it made me quite emotional. Sometimes it's easy to forget that those who love us most (or should love us most) also had their own childhood experiences that shaped them.
Anyone who has had experience with existential therapy will be able to relate to this book. It is also wonderfully illustrated, the drawings have a beautiful flow and lots of depth and dimension.
Many thanks to Candlewick Press and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
While I didn't enjoy this one as much as Honor Girl, I still found it to be an absorbing read. I always feel that I am a bit biased when it comes to reviewing books about lesbians, because I tend to find them more relatable. I think what I like best about this graphic novel, and Thrash's work in general, is her humor and vulnerability.
I was able to read a preview copy of this book and found it hauntingly lovely. More great graphics and coloration in the style of Honor Girl. An amusing and heartfelt look at traversing the shoals of high school and life.
Three years after the publication of Honor Girl, Maggie Thrash returns to her graphic memoirs with a second installment that maintains the brutal honesty of life as a teenager and the ghosts that haunt our past and present. Thrash elevates her story by projecting her inner feelings into tangible elements, emulating her own fears for readers to grasp and understand.
Thrash's illustration technique has developed slightly since her first foray into graphic novels while her approach remains the same, offering a continuity between the two memoirs but exhibiting progress within her own "character." These illustrations are very two-dimensional as there is little use of shading or perspective, allowing the emotional implications of each scene to take over.
Many readers will engage with this novel with a strong sense of confusion or curiosity, due to Thrash's use of a supernatural entity to demonstrate her emotions and thoughts, most notably that of depression. The ending and subsequent author's note explains this decision and ultimate creates a compelling and thought-provoking memoir.
Maggie feels muffled within her life, mostly ignored by her parents, flunking eleventh grade, and haunted by a boy ghost... all while searching her house for her missing cat.
The cover is both warm and cold, evoking mystery and a dreamlike landscape that is very reflective of both the story and the spirit of the book.
While the art style isn't immediately captivating, in my own opinion, I loved the way it wrapped me in a world. The softness deepened the muted murkiness of Maggie's world and was somehow so familiar. Lose Soul, Be at Peace feels very realistic and relatable, even of dealing with ghosts and a father judging graphically awful cases; the book gently presses the reader to consider empathy, individuality and independence, reasons why for beliefs and ideas, and multi-faceted loss. Maggie slowly deepens every plot line in the book, reflecting the way people and concepts take shape as we progress through life. Beautiful.
Wow! Loved this book! Very unique take on the “buddy” genre. It was delightful to spend more time with the character of “Maggie Thrash” (coolest name ever by the way). I don’t want to delve into the story details too much because anything would spoil its greatness. I do want to share though that there was a moment in this story I didn’t see coming and the surprise sent a shock through my body and made me numb for a good few seconds. I also yelped aloud to the point where I think my neighbors in my apartment building probably think I’m crazy. On a similar note, this book I found to be very funny and laughed aloud at a consistent rate.
Also, was Thrash binge watching Sergio Leone westerns while making this book? There are many panels with “Leone-esque” closeups that I just thought were so cool.
Thank you Maggie Thrash! I can only hope that your working on another “memoir”. 😊
I do not usually read graphic novels but when I do they are written by Maggie Thrash, and they are graphic memoirs. This book is a follow up to Thrash's first book Honor Girl which was a coming of age and coming out story, the new book begins to explore parental relationships from a very unique perspective. Struggling with depression and failing grades Maggie's beloved cat goes missing and in the quest to find "Tommi" she discovers much more and so will you! I also love the art work in Thrash's books, which is done by Maggie herself, and are perfect for her story, adding to the readers ability to connect and empathize with the characters optically. Target age: Teen/Young Adult
Poignant, funny, smart, engaging, and emotionally powerful. This is the story of what happens in a young girl's soul when her father is emotionally absent, and how one girl came to terms with it, and with her father.
Hidden within the witty humor and the whimsical style are great wisdom and deep pathos; in fact, the contrast serves to accentuate them. Maggie has the capacity to sincerely laugh at her own genuine pain, and the courage to invite us to share in the dark merriment. She fearlessly opens her heart for her readers' entertainment and edification, resulting in something much more than a graphic novel for teenage girls--something that deserves to be taken seriously as literature.
ARC review: Maggie’s story telling is wonderful. Memoirs are always so interesting and I love Maggie’s unique voice, honesty, and humor in this book. I can’t wait to read it again when it’s in full color!
3.5 stars. This didn't quite grab me the way HONOR GIRL did, it's more of an exercise in the specific kind of melancholy teenagers can find themselves in when you're convinced no one in the world understands you. In Maggie's case, it means a mother who never listens and pretends she's not a lesbian, a father who rarely speaks, and a cat that's gone missing but no one cares. Oh, and a ghost.
I wanted Thrash to pull on some of the threads here a little more, especially her relationship with her father. But I think the mood she's going for is the type that wants to start the questions and then leave them sitting with you.
I received an advanced galley of Lost Soul, Be At Peace by Maggie Thrash through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Maggie Thrash’s first graphic memoir Honor Girl was published 3 years ago and details Thrash’s experience at an all-girls camp and her realization that she identifies as a lesbian. Her second graphic memoir Lost Soul, Be At Peace takes place after that summer camp. It is not necessary to have read the first memoir in order to make sense of this one.
Lost Soul, Be At Peace depicts Thrash’s experiences with her parents as well as her descent into depression. What does not help at all during this time is that her beloved cat Tommi disappears within the house. It’s important to note that Maggie’s descent into depression is subtle. The warning signs/symptoms are there, but it’s never very overtly talked about. If you are expecting this just to be a more in-your-face type of memoir about depression, you will be disappointed.
During one nightmare, Maggie, attempting to find her cat, goes through a portal and encounters a boy around her age named Tommy. Much to her surprise, after Maggie awakes the next day, she still runs into the boy inside of the house. She believes him to be a ghost, and for much of the rest of the book, he helps her to make sense of some of the things that she’s experiencing.
While some may be initially confused with the presence of a ghost in a memoir story, it’ll make sense if you keep reading it.
My main fault with this was that it was too short. I wanted more.
First off, I have to say that I received an ARC of this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to read it.
I will also say that I did not read the book that this is the sequel to (insofar as memoirs have like "sequels"...) and so I have no idea if that impacted the way I read it. Also the copy I received was in black and white, which definitely impacted how I read it; I imagine a lot of what is great about Thrash's art is the coloring, and so while I did definitely still enjoy it in black and white, I'm sure it's even better in full color.
The story itself was interesting, and I definitely was intrigued by the mystery aspects, and the ending, without spoiling it, had a really good, solid conclusion that let things come together and also mostly felt satisfying. It did feel a little fast, but that may have been the rate at which I was reading (I'm not very good at reading comics.) Overall I do definitely recommend it!
Ahhhh... I just adore Maggie Thrash and the weird and wonderful way her brain works. This is the least pretentious memoir you'll ever read. It's honest and vulnerable and page-turny and mysterious. I'm also in awe of Maggie's ability to nail about 1000 different facial expressions in her illustrations (which were in black and white in the advance copy I read... can't wait to see them in color!). If you loved HONOR GIRL, you'll love this too. And if you haven't read HONOR GIRL, you should go do that right now.
Maggie Thrash went pretty typical graphic memoir with Honor Girl, and did it well, and I think that is what I was expecting here. This is different. It is kind of a memoir, kind of a ghost story, kind of an exploration of depression and teenage angst, kind of a coming of age tale, and kind of a figuring out a parent/child relationship story. It is an odd mix, but it works. Honor Girl I liked immediately. This one had to grow on me, and it did, seeping into my thoughts even when I wasn't reading it.