One-Minute Book Reviews

July 15, 2008

Four ‘Classic’ Graphic Novels

Filed under: Graphic Novels — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:21 am
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Graphic novels — which have been called “comic books on steroids” — aren’t always novels but include many kinds of book-length stories, memoirs among them. As a group, they’ve come into their own recently enough it’s too soon to call any of them classics. But four books are candidates for that status, a panel sponsored by the New York chapter of the Women’s National Book Association suggested:

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (Mariner, 232 pp., $13.95, paperback), by Alison Bechdel. The creator of “Dykes to Watch Out for” comic strip writes about growing up in the 1960s and 1970s in rural Pennsylvania, where she realized that she was a lesbian and her troubled father was

La Perdida (Pantheon, 288 pp., $14.95, paperback), by Jessica Abel. A young American moves to Mexico City hoping to learn about her estranged father’s country in a book in which much of the dialogue is written in Spanish and translated or explained in a glossary

Maus (Pantheon, 106, $14.95, paperback), by Art Spiegelman. No graphic novel has earned more praise than this Pulitzer winner. Nazis are cats and Jews are mice in Spiegelman’s meditation on the experiences that shaped his father, a Jewish Holocaust survivor

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Pantheon, 160 pp., $10.95, paperback), by Marjane Satrapi. Satrapi uses small black-and-while panels similar to those of Persian miniatures to describe the often frightening experience of growing up in Iran just after the overthrow of the Shah

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. I’ve read Persepolis as well as its sequel, Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return, Satrapi’s experiences as a young woman in Europe and back fundamentalist Iran. Good stuff!

    Comment by speedytexaslibrarian — July 15, 2008 @ 4:44 pm | Reply

  2. I love graphic novels, but none of these are in at my library…darn, I guess I’ll have to put one on hold.

    Comment by paleika — July 15, 2008 @ 5:12 pm | Reply

  3. Amanda: Thanks for mentioning the sequel. “Persepolis” sounded like a great title for a book club that wanted to read a graphic novel. How well do you think it would work for a reading group? Any hidden assets or liabilities for book clubs?

    Paleika: Any graphic novels that you’d recommend to visitors? Or that you would warn people away from? If other visitors find that their libraries don’t have these either, they might appreciate a few more suggestions. Thanks for your comment.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — July 15, 2008 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

  4. Well, I did read both for one of my book clubs, but I don’t remember a lot of the discussion (I am in Texas and the rest of them are in Washington, and that may have been one of the “meetings” where the phone connections didn’t work out). I do think it helped to do both books together as neither book is especially long, and there might not be enough to discuss with just one of them.

    I added both books to our library’s curriculum collection when I was done with them.

    Comment by speedytexaslibrarian — July 17, 2008 @ 11:04 pm | Reply

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