Thursday, October 29, 2009

You'll Never Know: A Graphic Memoir by C. Tyler. Book One: A Good and Decent Man

This bittersweet memoir told in comic strips explores the way events in history continue to have repercussions. Carol Tyler's father was a young American soldier who fought in World War II. He was taciturn, prone to sudden rages and would never talk about his experiences there. Carol was born in about 1950, grew up surrounded by siblings, attended Catholic schools, married, moved far away, had a daughter, split up with her husband - all the normal stuff. What is remarkable is her honest examination of her own life and how it was shaped by her family, as well as her determination to delve into the emotional scars of her father's past. It wasn't until he was in his nineties that stories about war suddenly began to pour out of him. Something awful happened in Italy, but we still don't know what it was by the end of book one.

Usually I include a cover image from a graphic novel in order to give an idea of the art style. This time I've chosen one of Tyler's story panels because I could identify so strongly with it; the period in my life when I cried every time I went into a church.

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