Review: The Park Bench by Christophe Chabouté

The Park Bench is full of quiet, revealing, and intimate glances into every day moments, capturing clever little details in the background. Including: romantic couples both young and old, gossiping, people watching, and so much more. This silent graphic novel speaks volumes.

Marketing his English-language debut, The Park Bench is Chabouté’s beautiful and acclaimed story of a park bench and the lives it witnesses. At once intimate and universal, it is one of the most moving books you could hope to come across.
From its creation, to its witness to the fresh ardor of lovers, the drudgery of businessmen, the various hopes of the many who enter its orbit, the park bench weathers all seasons. Strangers meet at it for the first time. Paramours carve their initials into it. Old friends sit and chat upon it for hours. Others ignore the bench, or (attempt to) sleep on it at night, or simply anchor themselves on it and absorb the ebb and flow of the area and its people.

I’ve had my eyes on this particular graphic novel for ages, so when it finally arrived in the mail I took my sweet time perusing the book. Letting the story sit with me for a while was certainly a wise way to go about Chabouté’s work. Though, I do have to say that for that second half I couldn’t help but read through it in a whirlwind. For anyone who loves to be deeply involved in their own thoughts, The Park Bench (both the book and the object) is a must.

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The above is a prime example of tiny details coming together to create a bigger picture.

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the park bench 5-- bookspoilsNo words need to describe how the above page is utterly heartbreaking.the park bench 6-- bookspoils

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Publication Date: July 6th, 2017

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying The Park Bench, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

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Review: Giant Days, Vol. 6 by John Allison

It felt so good to be back for another round of Giant Days, following our three wholesome “grown-up women in the modern world.”

Second year begins and Daisy, Susan, and Esther have taken their friendship commitment to the next level by moving into their “beautiful home”, off-campus. But the keys didn’t come without a whole new level of responsibility. Unwanted suitor visits, a robbery, and Susan living only a few blocks apart from her ex-boyfriend, McGraw has made the dorms feel like a haven. The girls are in for a dose of reality when they learn that there’s more to being an adult than paying your own rent.

This newest addition to the series was the most grown up we’ve seen our group. From crossing the brink of adulthood by hosting a fancy dinner party at their new home to dealing with unexpected tragedies happening all around. We’ve matured a lot as a group.Giant Days, Vol. 6 5-- bookspoilsThere’s a reason why Giant Days is the only comic series I actually bother to keep up with consecutively, and the answer lies mostly within the characters.

  • We have a new story arc centering around Daisy. From visiting her past to find out the reason behind her parents’ tragic and unforeseeable death, to watching her branch out and date her complete opposite in the present. I never tire of seeing Daisy Wooton have more “screen” time.Giant Days, Vol. 6 1-- bookspoils
  • In the meantime, with Daisy taking advantage of her youth, Esther has taken on the mom-friend duty with excellence.Giant Days, Vol. 6 2-- bookspoils
  • The humor is remarkably up to par in this newest volume, like, morbidly so.Giant Days, Vol. 6 3-- bookspoilsThe last panel actually made me laugh out loud.
  • Speaking of which, here’s another gem of classic comedy:

Giant Days, Vol. 6 4-- bookspoilsEsther’s comment “He’s going to break the toilet” broke me.

  • Finally, on a completely unrelated note, the tumultuous relationship between McGraw and Susan is unfortunately still happening. Though I’m secretly hoping they work things out in future issues, I’m still game for whatever direction the writers decide to head in.

3.5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Giant Days, Vol. 6, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: The Realist by Asaf Hanuka

The Realist is a weekly comic strip collection, unfolding Israeli cartoonist Asaf Hanuka’s portrait of contemporary life, commenting on everything from marriage to technology to social activism through intimate moments of triumph and failure.

This year I’ve taken on the task of, slowly but surely, familiarizing my way through a number of Israeli authors. Hanuka’s comics looked like the perfect component. His work seemed at first glance like an illustrated version of Etgar Keret‘s short story style.

So I began The Realist impressed by the author’s individualistic style, but then in the same breath felt disappointed at the depiction of Asaf Hanuka’s utterly mundane and commonplace life. It was mediocre at best and confusing at worst… Fighting with his wife, not feeling loved by his kid, which I want to note that it read like he, as a father, wasn’t doing the best at showcasing his love, either. Such as, constantly being on the phone when his son is trying to connect with him. It just brought to mind Ellen Fisher’s point about how spending “quality, consistent time where your face is not in the phone” will only benefit you both. You can’t expect the bond between father and son to be there without working on it…

Also, at certain times during my reading experience, I felt like the flow from strip to strip was hard to grasp, especially when the author talked about his marriage. His skips around in time just didn’t help the overarching theme.

Even though things didn’t really pan out the way I had planned or expected it to with The Realist, I fortunately still found some quiet little gems here and there that I’d like to share next:The Realist 1--bookspoils

 

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I’ve never felt more seen as when I read the above touching comic.

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3/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying The Realist, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!