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Book Review: I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly (Graphic Novel)

June 22, 2011 1 comment

Green-tinted girl pointing at herself against red background.Summary:
Barbara is a middle school student with one intense focus–she must learn how to kill giants before it is too late.  She doesn’t fit in much at school or have many friends, but she doesn’t really care, because she needs to be ready for the giant.  The giant is connected to a secret at home, you see, and this secret takes over her life too much to care about all those silly things the other girls talk about.

Review:
I picked up this graphic novel because it was getting tons of buzz as being an excellent graphic novel.  I also wanted to know what this big secret was in Barbara’s life.  Does the graphic novel address something that isn’t discussed much in polite society but is still an issue for many middle schoolers out there?  I was dying to know!  Unfortunately, I found myself incredibly disappointed with this graphic novel.  I can’t discuss why without spoiling what the giant is, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, skip this review.

I was expecting the giant Barbara is facing at home to be something like abuse or incest.  Instead, it turns out Barbara’s mother is dying of cancer.  Um. Ok.  I’m sorry, a big scary giant doesn’t seem to be quite the right metaphor for a dying parent.  What makes this little girl think she can fight death?  I guess I just don’t get it.

Additionally, I just really didn’t like Barbara.  I honestly get tired of graphic novel writers always making the main character a geek.  This little girl–shocker–plays D&D.  She is cruel to her classmates.  She judges them.  She’s even mean to the one girl who for some unearthly reason shows an interest in Barbara and what she likes to do.  She, quite frankly, rubs me the wrong way, and I don’t think she’s supposed to.

Then there’s the art.  I also didn’t like that, especially how he drew Barbara.  Why does she have bunny ears?  What’s up with that?  The drawing style never feels artistic.  Not once did I find myself sucked into the pictures to get further into Barbara’s world.  They felt more like badly-done newspaper comic strips than a graphic novel.

Overall, I’m disappointed that I even bothered with this book.  It’s one of those few instances when if I’d known the spoiler ahead of time, I’d have saved myself some time.  I can’t even imagine handing this over to a middle schooler dealing with a terminally ill relative, because I don’t think it particularly presents healthy coping mechanisms or solutions to unhealthy ones.  Why this book is so popular remains a mystery to me.

2 out of 5 stars

Source: Amazon

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Friday Fun! (Quirky Wolfy)

I’ve always had this problem that I just don’t quite fit in anywhere.  I’m what they call an odd duck.  If I was a house, you’d say I was decorated in an eclectic fashion.  I’m kind of a big bunch of contradictions.  I’m a huge reader, so people think I’m a nerd, but then they find out that I scoff at D+D and WoW.  Suddenly, the nerds don’t know what to do with me.

I love going out to sporting events and cheering on the home team, but I don’t wear makeup.  Suddenly, the jocks are wondering how on earth I got into a sorority.  Um, I didn’t.

I recycle and garden passionately, but I shave my legs.  The hippies become very confused.

I am highly educated, but I’m more comfortable drinking at a bonfire and roasting veggie dogs over the open flames than I would ever EVER be in a fancy restaurant.

All of this has led me to make a pretty eclectic bunch of friends, and I love it, and I love them for it.  It really has enhanced my social circle to the umpteenth degree.  I have my hippie friends and my artistic friends and my nerd friends and my girly girl friends, etc….  I love them all for their own reasons, and I can pretty much always find someone to do any of my various pursuits with.  The problem, of course, comes when I’m trying to date.

I am weird.  Guys never know quite what to expect, and just when they think they have me figured out, I do something that to them is out of left field, but to me is totally perfectly normal.  I can go from discussing Kant to swearing like a sailor in five seconds flat.  I seriously get why it’s confusing.  The problem is that that’s just who I am, and I ain’t gonna change it to suit nobody.  I can’t pretend to be a classy lady when I’m not most of the time.  I can’t pretend I’m comfortable just sitting around drinking beer and watching the game every weekend, when sometimes I want to go to the museum.  I love who I am and how I am and the fact that it makes my life so varied and unpredictable.  The problem is that’s a lot of quirks to match someone up to.  Or at least to find someone who thinks they’re all cute.  I’m sure that quirky guy is out there somewhere.  I mean, after all, my father and uncles are all similarly quirky, and we can’t be the only family like that on the planet.  (please oh please oh please universe)

But, you know, waiting for him kind of sucks.  Even if I do get to pump iron at the gym, go out for beers to watch the Bruins, read on a riverbank on my kindle, and then hit up the MFA all in one weekend in the meantime.