In today's guest post, Bonnie Brzozowski, Reference Librarian at the Austin Public Library and our resident graphic novel expert shares her book clubs' experience this month!
This month Austin Public Library’s Graphic Novels Book Club
read Sloth by Gilbert Hernandez
, a stand-alone, short graphic novel by the co-creator of the very popular Love & Rockets
Hernandez tells a story of three angsty teens, Lita, Miguel, and Romeo, growing up in a small town with about as many lemon orchards as people. In black and white, cartoonish but evocative panels, Hernandez weaves a somewhat complicated story of love and identity. While most of us were baffled trying to find meaning in some of the plot choices, we still had an interesting conversation about the trials of being a teenager and David Lynchian plot twists.
Hernandez captures the loneliness of growing up in a small town through the ominous lemon trees surrounding it. The story starts off with Miguel explaining a coma he was in for one year that he actually willed himself in and out of as a way to escape everyday life. We discussed the typical stereotype of the angst-ridden, dissatisfied teen and the ways the characters exemplified it, as well as our own experiences at the same age. It might have been easy to write off some of Miguel’s attitudes as simply the norm for his age, but a number of astute, wise-beyond-the-years comments had us sympathizing with him a great deal.