Julie's Reviews > A Fire Story

A Fire Story by Brian Fies
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2019, comics-manga, e-book, netgalley, non-fiction, memoir

A Fire Story by Brian Fies is a 2019 Harry N. Abrams publication.

This graphic novel depicts Brian Fies’ personal experiences when he lost his home during the 2017 Northern California wildfires.

His Webcomic and subsequent graphic novel has been a cathartic journey as he chronicles the various emotions he and his family felt, in the process of moving forward after such an incredibly difficult loss. He also adds others personal stories into the novel, adding even more poignancy to the devastation. The sense of community is also prevalent as people rose to the occasion to help their families, friends, and neighbors.

Brian’s sense of displacement, his broken- heartedness, and shock, leaps from the pages as does his temerity and the admission that while the process is slow and hard, and the days ahead were long and arduous, he and his family are determined to move forward and rebuild their lives.

My heart truly broke for Brian and the other families and people who shared their stories. Brian did a terrific job conveying his emotions and the way he and others around him dealt with the pain and what steps they had to take in order to move on with their lives.

From a personal standpoint, I have never experienced such a devastating loss. However, while in high school, two good friends of mine lost their homes to fire. It is so hard to comprehend, unless you experience something like that in an up close and personal way, how truly devastating it is to lose every single thing you own. It’s not just the obvious loss of things and stuff, it’s the sentimental loss, and the feeling of disassociation. Rebuilding, even if you have good insurance, even with the promise of a fresh start, just doesn’t offer all that much comfort when all you want to do is go home.



This is a very emotional and powerful story which started as a Webcomic, which is also included in this book. Because this is a graphic novel, and the visuals are of utmost importance within this format, I must admit I wasn’t bowled over by the artwork. The style may have been a statement, in part due to the gravity of the subject matter. The artwork is in black and white and maybe a little too simplistic, but again, but it does capture the essence of the situation, which is what counts at the end of the day. The timeline is also a bit choppy, but not hard to follow and is really a minor complaint. There are also real photos included driving home the reality of damage done by the raging fires.

I recommend this book to everyone, even if graphic novels aren't really your thing. Once the impact hits you, you will most likely feel compelled to count your blessings and will feel grateful for having a roof over your head, a toothbrush, a change of clothes, your personal papers, and a hundred other small things we all take for granted every day.

I was also inspired by Brian’s story, his bravery in sharing his raw emotions with us, and despite his depressing circumstances, his fortitude, his sense of humor, and compassion for others who shared in his loss.

4 stars
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Reading Progress

May 4, 2019 – Started Reading
May 4, 2019 – Shelved
May 4, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019
May 4, 2019 – Shelved as: comics-manga
May 4, 2019 – Shelved as: e-book
May 4, 2019 – Shelved as: netgalley
May 4, 2019 – Shelved as: non-fiction
May 4, 2019 – Shelved as: memoir
May 5, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-30 of 30 (30 new)

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message 1: by Richard (new)

Richard I’ve just started exploring graphic novels and this sounds amazing - a lovely, personal review Julie :)


Julie Richard wrote: "I’ve just started exploring graphic novels and this sounds amazing - a lovely, personal review Julie :)"

Thank you, Richard! I am new to graphic novels, as well. I've had a lot of fun exploring all the various types of comics, manga and graphic novels out there. Very interesting format! 😊


message 3: by Holly (new)

Holly  B Lovely review Julie!


Julie Holly wrote: "Lovely review Julie!"

Thank you, Holly!! 💖🌷


message 5: by Mackenzie (new)

Mackenzie Fantastic review, Julie! I will have to check this one out 💞


message 6: by Kaceey (new)

Kaceey Wonderful review Julie!🤗💖


Julie Mackenzie wrote: "Fantastic review, Julie! I will have to check this one out 💞"
Thank you, Mackenzie!! It is really sad, but also inspirational. 💖


Julie Kaceey wrote: "Wonderful review Julie!🤗💖"

Thank you, Kaceey!! 💖


Erin Great review Julie! I really enjoyed this book too!


Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* Fab review, Julie! Looks like a great read. 💕


Julie Erin wrote: "Great review Julie! I really enjoyed this book too!"

Thank you. Erin! Glad you enjoyed this one, as well! 😊


message 12: by Tatevik (new)

Tatevik Najaryan Wow, the page you put here... Three sentences and you immediately get the whole picture. Nice review, Julie!


message 13: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Gipson My heart goes out to anyone who has to go through such a devastating experience! Wonderful review Julie! 🌹❤️


message 14: by Diane (new)

Diane Beautiful review, Julie ;)


message 15: by *TUDOR^QUEEN* (new)

*TUDOR^QUEEN* Wonderful and heartfelt review 💗😉


Julie Tatevik wrote: "Wow, the page you put here... Three sentences and you immediately get the whole picture. Nice review, Julie!"

Thank you, Tatevik!! That page hit me hard. 🌹


Julie Nicola wrote: "My heart goes out to anyone who has to go through such a devastating experience! Wonderful review Julie! 🌹❤️"

Thank you, Nicola!! 🌹🤗


Julie Diane wrote: "Beautiful review, Julie ;)"

Thank you, Diane!! 🤗


Julie *TUDOR^QUEEN* wrote: "Wonderful and heartfelt review 💗😉"

Thank you, TQ!! 🤗🌹


Julie Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* wrote: "Fab review, Julie! Looks like a great read. 💕"

Thank you, Mary Beth!! 🌹🤗


message 21: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Wonderful and inspiring review, Julie!


Julie Meredith wrote: "Wonderful and inspiring review, Julie!"

Thank you, Meredith!! 🌷🌹🤗


message 23: by KAS (new)

KAS Glad this was an inspirational read, Julie! I can’t even imagine losing my home to a fire. Wonderful review, my friend!! ❤️❤️


message 24: by Deanna (new)

Deanna This sounds good!! Terrific review!!


Julie KAS wrote: "Glad this was an inspirational read, Julie! I can’t even imagine losing my home to a fire. Wonderful review, my friend!! ❤️❤️"

Thank you, dearest KAS!! 🌹🌷😊


Julie Deanna wrote: "This sounds good!! Terrific review!!"

Thank you so much, Deanna!! 😊🌷🌹


message 27: by JanB (new)

JanB At one time I didn’t think Graphic novels were my thing but then I read one by Ron Chast and Ioved it.

Terrific review! I can’t even begin to imagine how devastating such a loss would be.


message 28: by JanB (new)

JanB Sorry....using one hand on my phone while holding a sleeping granddaughter with the other.....so I can’t edit my comment

I meant Roz Chast!


Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰ Great review, Julie! Glad you enjoyed <3 x


Julie Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰ wrote: "Great review, Julie! Glad you enjoyed <3 x"

Thank you, dear Alex! 💕


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