March 2, 2011

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Escape from Special

Written by Miss Lasko-Gross
Illustrated by Miss Lasko-Gross
Fantagraphics

Yet another of the many indie graphic novels I've been reading of late here in 2008. This one's not as cohesive as the others, however, featuring a series of short--some as short as one page--stories about the life of the author's avatar growing up . The art style is fairly typical of these kinds of books, mostly realistic with a few exaggerations to make a point.

The story she tells is quite tragic, if you stop and look at the whole. Her mother seems to be part absolutist, part ignorant fool in terms of child rearing, and the bouncing from school to school could not have helped "Melissa's" development. Since she is placed in the special class, it's just that much harder.

I think the most touching moment for me is when she's ridiculed for being the smartest dumb kid, showing how hard it is for her to fit in with any group at all. I can relate to that, even if I never had any issues intellectually.

The problem with this one is the size of the stories. Since they are so short, it's hard to get a good feel for what's going on. The experience from reading that I for is like taking photographs from childhood, shuffling them, and dealing them out like playing cards. In single form, that's not much of a problem, say as a weekly blog or column. But taken together, it makes it harder for the reader to process, which is why I give this one less of a recommendation than I might have otherwise. Still, it's worth reading for those who had problems growing up or those who, like me, enjoy these type of comics. Overall, Escape from Special is just a little too disjointed for me, but I think it's still worth reading.