Thursday, 28 November 2013

November 2013 - Ghost World by Daniel Clowes

Ghost World is a graphic novel and tells the story of two teenage girls, Enid and Rebecca, who are trying to come to terms with their impending adulthood. The story also explores their apparent confusion over sexuality as they attempt to cope with the evolution of their complicated friendship post high school. A graphic novel was a new experience for a lot of our members and had a somewhat lukewarm reception. Even though it was relatively short at 80 pages, not everybody finished it with some saying they missed what was going on. We felt that to get anything out of the story it needed to be read in a different way to a novel and attention had to be paid to the pictures juxtaposed with the dialogue, similar to how you might watch a subtitled film.

There was general agreement that nothing major happened, which may be down to the subject matter. Rebecca and Enid weren’t exceptional in anyway and while this may have been intended to help the reader connect with them the general consensus was that the book felt flat and slow paced. We mostly felt that the characters themselves were believable and were impressed at how true to life the protagonists were considering the author is male. Some felt that the character of Enid especially, with her ‘devil may care’ attitude, would have resonated with a younger self, but reading as an adult she became more irritating. However, we felt it was strange trying to get to know characters purely through dialogue with no narration which went against many initial expectations that the illustrations would make them easier to understand.

The ending felt very abrupt as time seemed to speed up, and wasn’t satisfactory for some with the plot being ‘up in the air’. However, it did generate some interesting discussion with very different conclusions drawn. A number of individuals found it to be a very hopeful ending after quite a depressing tale, and took Enid’s departure to be a symbol for new beginnings. On the flip side, some believed this to be a metaphor for suicide.

The majority of the group would not read anything else by Daniel Clowes. However, there was a generally positive attitude towards reading further graphic novels with some being more interested in something else ‘true to life’ with others more interested in reading something at the Marvel end of the scale.

We had 12 members present and we gave the book an average score of 4.75/10 with 7 being the highest and 1 the lowest.

Write up by Byron

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