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Friday, November 15, 2013

Quirky Graphic Novel (maybe mostly for girls)

Hartman, Rachel  (2002) Amy Unbounded, Belondweg Blossoming.  Wynnewood, PA:  Pug House Press.


      This is Amy of Eddybrook.  Amy lives in a medieval village community with her family.  Her age is unclear but she seems to be entering adolescence.  It is a little hard to explain what this book is about.  There is political intrigue between the queen and the guilds and Amy's father and other members of the community.  There is a love story involving a dragon who takes the form of a monk and is forbidden from caring about humans.  Most of all, though, the story is about Amy as she goes through puppy love and idealized love and finally starts to become comfortable with the annoying boy next door (who turns out to be a much funnier and more caring person than she thought).
     So this is not a quest story that unites the kingdom against an evil foe.  This is not a princess story about a street urchin who rules the kingdom.  It is certainly not a Disney story about two beautiful people who finally get together in spite of adversity.  Look at the picture of Amy above.  Amy is normal looking.  She has a big nose.  She sometimes says awkward things.  She has no special talents.  Sometimes she blunders through life a bit, like we all do.  It is a normal story about normal people.  So this isn't a fillet mignon of a book.  It isn't a lobster thermidor.  This is more of a shepherd's pie kind of a story, or a casserole kind of a story.  Amy Unbounded is kind of like comfort food.
     This is also not destined to become a classic piece of literature and I very much doubt it will end up making anyone's top ten list of excellent stories.  The art is competent, but not breathtaking (black and white -- mostly line drawings).  But if you are looking for a graphic novel about a strong female character who doesn't look like a Disney princess, you might want to check out this graphic novel.


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