Thursday, May 26, 2011


I picked this up at TCAF on a whim.  It's hard to classify what this is exactly.  It's not a graphic novel.  It's not really a zine, although it is that, it's more like a a visual laundry list of three months of Kayla's life as she lives in the UK.
I really wanted to like this.  Part of why I read what I read is to be inspired, and to look for things to potentially turn into films or television projects.  This book frustrated me to some extent.  To be fair on the opening page Kayle describes this as a document of "little moments" from her time spent in the United Kingdom, and it's just that - and that is the problem.  During this time Kayla is going through a crisis in terms of figuring out herself and romance back home, along with meeting this new guy.  She tells us about conversations she has - but in ways like "we had a deep conversation".  Why not transcribe it?  Why not give us a glimpse into it.  It's like getting the Coles notes for something that sounds like it could have been really interesting - and that's what the majority of the book is - just her listing off the things she did and saw, and, well, it's kind of boring.  I imagine that her family and friends will find it very entertaining but for an outsider it just comes off as something that was meant to be for a small group of people.  I'm sure that people outside the group can and will enjoy it, but in terms of people connecting to the material... well there's not all that much to connect to.  At it's core Kayla is going through a crisis about what direction to take her life - but the book is barely about that, not enough to give it any real substance and that's the real shame of it.
The worst part is, is that Kayle strikes me as a very clever, thoughtful person, but that she's holding back here.  Coming off of reading Chester Brown, whose autobiographical work has no problem being extremely honest, this just feels pale in comparison.  And I get it, it's really hard to put your life up for the public to see - but if you can't do it then don't do autobiographical stuff - or hide it inside another character.  I would be willing to read another book by Kayla if she was willing to be more open and let us into her world and thoughts, but I have a hard time recommending this.  Sorry Kayla - it was lovely meeting you at TCAF! To quote a famous author, "Writing is easy, you just open up a vein."  Open up your veins to us, Kayla, open 'em up!

No comments: