Chopsticks

There are things that are my thing, and things that aren’t. Things that are my thing include romance, neat characters, spontaneous book decisions, and amazing aesthetics. Things that aren’t include…well, things that say “a novel” and then have almost no words in them.

But somehow this book surpassed that.

indexChopsticks

  • Author: Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral
  • Publisher: Razorbill
  • Year: 2012
  • Genre vibe: I’m gonna go with just pure aesthetic here, although it is a romance and a bit of a slice-of-life story.
  • At a glance: Glory is a piano prodigy, young and troubled after her mother’s death. Frank moves in next door and both of them are swept up into love like the poems tell it. But the pressure Glory’s father puts on her leads to her slow unraveling and neither her nor Frank–who just can’t seem to keep it together in school–know what to do.

What to say about this book…first of all, it’s told through pictures, which is normally not something I’m drawn to. It’s not that I don’t like it or think it’s not “a real book” or anything like that. But visuals can never quite impact me the way traditional words do, so I just don’t pick up many. But today I’m at the library, and on the staff picks stand was this book.

I remember flipping through it at a bookstore awhile back, not really internalizing it, and going on my way. Now I wish I’d bought it that day.

The first thing that struck me were how beautiful the pictures were. I’m not a photographer or a visual artist of any kind, but all of the pictures in this book were just amazing. They all give the story a specific feeling, kind of dreamy and unreal and a funny sort of intimate. The kind where you’re seeing someone’s cluttered kitchen and the things on their dresser before really knowing them.

The dialogue pieces and documents are what really drove the story in though. Glory had such a voice, for someone who was more face than name, and that’s what kind of amazed me. I just finished reading Persepolis for my English class, my first graphic novel, and even that was a little lacking in specific character voice in the way we usually mean it when we talk writing.But this was a story told as much through the simple fact of Glory’s existence as it was through her eyes and her mouth. All of it ended up blending together so beautifully that I got choked up a couple of times.

The librarian that recommended it apparently thought the ending was really ambiguous, but I thought it was pretty clear. I’d be interested to know what other people think.

All in all I seriously, seriously enjoyed this book. I’m so glad I picked it up and actually sat down to read it rather than letting the thought that I’d have to try too hard to get anything out of it get in my way.

  • Rating: 5/5 stars, even though it’s not quite a book that you…rate
  • Recommended to: Fans of artistic ways to get across story, fans of aesthetic and photography and romance.
  • Lasting impression: Glory’s voice. I want this book on my shelf so I can curl up with a knit blanket and a cup of hot chocolate on a frigid, rainy afternoon and escape for awhile.
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