The story revolves around David Small from the age of 6 to adulthood. He comes from an interesting family–his mother and her side of the family is explored in depth. David develops a growth on his neck, which turns out to be cancer. However, his family does not tell him this, which is just one of the sources of conflict between him and his parents. I really enjoyed how the story was told. You can really feel the struggles David goes through growing up within this family.
And in some ways, his mother reminds me of my grandma (in terms of the value of money and weighing the cost of something against something else). I also like how imaginative David (the character in the book) can be, and you see that throughout the story (like his admiration for Alice in Wonderland, which appears again towards the end of the story) In the end, the story has a great moral lesson–your voice is more than the words that
come out of your mouth. It is also your actions, what you do and how you do them, that speak for you. That is a great message to learn from a book about a child growing up.
The artwork is black, white, and gray, and in this story, it works perfectly. Some of the best frames in the book are when the author uses a direct light source on his character. For example, when David is in an elevator, and the doors open and close, he creates a fantastic effect by using this lighting technique. It happens a few times in the story, and it is definitely worth stopping to study the frame and look at the detail.
Finally, I believe that this story could only be told in this way. It just would not have been as effective if it was told in a traditional book. You need the art, combined with the
story, David’s imagination and the writer’s control of his words to get everything you
see in front of you. It just works as a graphic novel, telling the story of his own memories. I read the entire graphic novel in about 45 minutes. I now think that was too fast, and I plan to go back and read it again. I highly recommend this book for its great story and art work, even if you know nothing about the author. By the time you are done reading, you will feel like you know him personally.