Saturday, September 20, 2008

Town Boy by Lat - review

Town Boy by Lat
This is the kind of autobiographical graphic novel that people who have graduated from story-based, comic-book-like graphic novels such as Y: The Last Man, Bone, and Asterix (not to mention Naruto, Bleach, etc) start to appreciate.

It's a fact, Jack. Not too many people go straight for the autobiographical graphic novel. They'll start with Love and Rockets before they begin to appreciate Blankets. Ok, Persepolis is an exception, but Persepolis was marketed as a biography.

But I have high hopes for Town Boy. I think that the goofy, Don Martin-esque style is perfect for middle-grade boys. Our hero, Mat, and his best pal Frankie, live in Ipoh, Malaysia in the 1960's, but their poses and stratagems, gestures and uncertainties, and passion for loud music will feel familiar to boys, people who know boys, and people who once were boys.

I fear it's a little long for anyone younger than, say, 5th grade, but the subject matter would work for younger kids. I wish it had chapter breaks. But as an adult, it's certainly a childhood memoir to treasure.

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