Thursday, 13 September 2012

Daytripper - Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba

To be honest, I don't think I would have picked up Daytripper if it wasn't the book for my comics reading group this month. By the time this review is posted, I will have gone and discussed it but since I'm also moving that day, I'm writing it early and hoping I don't feel the need to chance anything afterwards.

Daytripper tells the story of Bras de Oliva Domingos, the son of a famous author and aspiring author himself. He works at the paper writing the obituaries section and waiting for his life to begin. But, as the book points out with its varied chapters and jumps, where exactly does life start?

Each chapter is a small sequence of events in a year of Bras's life. In the first chapter, he's thirty two. In the second, he's twenty one. The book skips around like this throughout, exploring Bras's life story and those around him while showing how each interaction and decision he makes could potentially change his life in drastic ways. 

One thing that I really loved about it is how down to earth it feels and how you really get to know the characters. Even though characters appear and disappear as their relation to Bras's life changes, it's interesting to watch their growth just as much as the lead's. The brothers (did I mention this was written by amazing twin brothers?) are able to fully sketch out complex and individual characters even if they only appear for a chapter or so. I absolutely adored Bras's best friend Jorge, someone who constantly disappeared and reappeared as the time went on. 

There are instances of magical realism in the text but there is no real sense of any magic beyond the magic of everyday life and human connection. Although I am not a very big magical realism fan (mainly because it usually shows up in texts I wouldn't have liked anyway), I think that it really added to the story and to the setting, giving it a Brazilian flavor that really distinguishes the tone. 

I will admit that there is one chapter that I didn't like and felt very out of place to me and that was chapter seven, or 38, I guess. This is a chapter on friendship, something I'm very much in favor of, but I think it goes a bit too far. Although all the chapters have their instances of crossing a line, most of them feel in place with the story and such things that would happen in life, if a bit drastic. This chapter, however, becomes overly theatrical, in my opinion. 

Beyond that, however, I loved every other instance of this book. The art is lovely and very fitting with the text. The story is definitely engaging and touching. I definitely teared up at bits. But then again, I tear up at Youtube videos so I suppose that's not that telling. Would I recommend this book? 100%. It is engaging, thought provoking, inspirational and true. If you pick up one graphic novel this year, it should be this one.

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