Melanie Page's Reviews > Fire!!: The Zora Neale Hurston Story

Fire!! by Peter Bagge
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did not like it
bookshelves: sjcpl

This graphic novel jumps all over the place. To make any sense of it, you have to have read Zora Neale Hurston's Dust Tracks on a Road. And if you have read Hurston's autobiography, there isn't much reason to read Fire!!. The drawings border on offensive in places, especially Hurston as a child. Bagge skips key moments in Hurston's life that would indicate where she is and what she's doing. For example, it's not until Hurston's employer gets married that it's revealed to readers that the woman was an actress and Hurston had been traveling with a theater group.

At the end of the graphic novel are pages and pages of explanations of what's happening in each comic panel or page. Why didn't the author incorporate that information into the graphic novel? Why not add a framing device, such as him as the narrator? I can see how a white man in 2017 narrating a black woman's experiences during the Harlem Renaissance would be frowned upon, but he could have added a layer of his experience reading Hurston and what her story means to him and people in 2017. Instead, readers get to the huge section of type. Not only that, but Bagge adopts a crappy attitude, at one point claiming Hurston often wore white because it was so hot where she traveled, but he always depicted her in yellow, that it's a signifier in comic books (and that readers wouldn't understand. Yes, he actually made that argument. Funny? Not really. Plenty of people have written about and analyzed Hurston's life; Bagge adds little to nothing.
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Reading Progress

November 20, 2017 – Started Reading
November 20, 2017 – Shelved
November 20, 2017 – Shelved as: sjcpl
November 22, 2017 – Finished Reading

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