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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rosalie Lightning Book Review

Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Novel

Written by Tom Hart
Number of pages: 272

Average Rating: 4.20/5 stars
My Rating: 5/5 stars

Published on January 12th 2016
Read in June 2016

Summary according to Goodreads

Rosalie Lightning is Eisner-nominated cartoonist Tom Hart's beautiful and touching graphic memoir about the untimely death of his young daughter, Rosalie. His heart-breaking and emotional illustrations strike readers to the core, and take them along his family's journey through loss. Hart uses the graphic form to articulate his and his wife's on-going search for meaning in the aftermath of Rosalie's death, exploring themes of grief, hopelessness, rebirth, and eventually finding hope again. 

Hart creatively portrays the solace he discovers in nature, philosophy, great works of literature, and art across all mediums in this expressively honest and loving tribute to his baby girl. Rosalie Lightning is a graphic masterpiece chronicling a father's undying love.

My Thoughts

This was such a powerful novel, and could only be fully captured through a graphic memoir. I give so much credit to this author for opening his life up so much to write this, giving readers a look at how hard he and his wife suffered, emotionally and financially, both before and after losing their daughter. 

I knew what this novel was about before I picked it up, but it still broke my heart. Reading about this couple mourning the sudden loss of their young child was terrible and very heavy. I had an immediate connection to the characters, and just wanted to give everyone a hug. There are many ups and down throughout this short story, and you join this couple on the roller coaster of emotions. 

The graphics are black and white, very simple, but did the story justice. It is a heavy topic that flows well with basic art, so that you are more focused on what is going on than the designs - something that I really appreciated. 

At some times the story felt a little scattered to me, memories coming and going without much time structure. But this just made the story feel so much more real. This man is distraught, and such simple daily things bring to life memories he had of his daughter. The story could being depicting a moment he and his wife are walking through a forest, and flash to remembering his daughter water colouring. If there weren't moments like this scatter-brain, the novel would not have felt as real. 

At first I rated this four stars, but then went back and changed it because I realized that there was nothing about this novel that I did not like. It is quite rare for me to connect to characters that quickly, and the plot made it feel heavier than 270 pages (in a positive way). Overall, this is one of my favourite graphic novels, and one of my favourite non-fiction reads. If you have even a slight interest in graphic novels, I highly recommend you pick this one up. I am hoping that Tom Hart has other works available at my library because I would love to read more from him. 

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