Friday, November 22, 2013

Mini Review: The Squirrel Mother by Megan Kelso

The Squirrel Mother by Megan Kelso
The Squirrel Mother
Release Date: July 17th 2006
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Format: Paperback
: 136
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Kelso's work is characterized by subject matter that fits roughly into two disparate camps: personal and semi-autobiographical stories that draw heavily on the details of her childhood and adolescence, and stories about the idea of America and American history, such as a trilogy of short pieces about Alexander Hamilton. Her work is distinguished from many of her contemporaries as much by her spare, elegant, calligraphic linework, leisurely pacing, and psychological acuity as it is by the absence of nihilism, scatology, pedantry, and formal experimentalism. Her work is charming, witty, nuanced, slightly elusive, and sharply observed.

The Squirrel Mother features 15 stories of between three and twenty-two pages in full color, including two stories, "Meow Face" and "Aide de Camp," done especially for this volume. The personal stories are each self-contained but in a sense take place in the same world where similar characters inhabit different stories. The "America" stories are broader in subject matter, taking on events of political and historical significance and wrestling with ideas having to do with the American experience.

This was not very good. Not very good at all. This is a collection of short stories in graphic novel form. I was actually really excited when I picked this book up because I didn’t know anything about it and it had an interesting title. That was a bad idea because if I would have checked Goodreads I would have seen that it was rated less than a 3 star, which is pretty bad.

The only thing that’s actually good that I can think to say about it is the artwork. It was pretty simple sketches and they were all in black and white or muted colors. It reminded me of something out of the Sunday comics. That is honestly the best thing I can think of to say. I read pretty much all of the stories but there were two that I skimmed through because I got bored.

There is one story in particular that talks about sucking poison from boys. (She is not talking about actual poison). One of the stories is called “Fuck the Troops”. That is part of the section that I skimmed through. Then another story involved a stuffed bear getting hung by a child. The first story was sad and I actually thought the book wasn’t going to be too bad starting off with that. But no…

I can’t recommend that anyone read this book. I feel bad rating it so low because I haven’t had to rate a book a one star in a long time. It is bound to happen eventually though. I will probably be getting rid of this book.

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