Monday, June 30, 2014

Graphic Novel Review: "Little Fish" by Ramsey Beyer

This graphic novel is a chronicle of sorts, detailing the author's first year at college.  Ramsey grew up in a super tiny town in Michigan, but went all the way to Baltimore, Maryland to attend art school. So much changed for her in a short period of time; the title references her feeling like a "little fish" in the big city.  Overall, she could have really brought out the uniqueness of her story - I mean, going to art school in itself is pretty specialized - she instead kept her story pretty balanced so that it is accessible to pretty much anyone going away to school for the first time.

Ramsey has stylized herself as being a good girl from a good family who meets some very different but very good people at school.  She gets homesick, works hard on assignments and at her on-campus job, and tries to find ways to get more involved in other activities that she enjoys.   Eventually, Ramsey finds herself possibly attracted to one of her new friends.  Ramsey starts to question her faith in relationships, her fear of giving in to her emotions...  all those things one questions when debating turning a friendship into something more.  This is something everyone can relate to.  But to be truthful, the whole story - while interesting - is a little boring.  And I hate saying that, because this is someone's life - and I am sure they didn't think it was boring!  On the other hand, boring can be good....  it is normal after all.  And I still finished the book wondering about her and her friends in the book - where they are now, if they are still friends and all that.

I saved the best for last.  I really liked the format in which this story is told.  While some of it is drawn illustrations - the bulk of the text is in list form!  Ramsey has apparently always enjoyed making lists of different things, and at one time (maybe still?) published a zine of her lists.  She has reproduced lists that she actually wrote during this time of her life and used them to tell the story (with the illustrations to help move the time line along).  I thought that was a really cool way to tell a story!

*****
Little Fish
by Ramsey Beyer
Zest Books, 2013
272 pages
Source:  Library
*****

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