"A revelatory, visually stunning graphic memoir by award-winning artist Nora Krug, telling the story of her attempt to confront the hidden truths of her family's wartime past in Nazi Germany and to comprehend the forces that have shaped her life, her generation, and history"--
It's been a very long time since I have felt a book so deeply and I find it difficult to adequately express that depth of emotion. Having never given much thought to the subsequent generations that are coming after the war I am blown away by how blind I have been to the lasting and wide-spread impact of such a world event. This book was presented with such beautiful innocence and honesty, and was so completely immersive that maybe just a list of all the thoughts and feelings I experienced while reading it will do to convey my gratitude at having been lucky enough to experience it.
Insightful, introspective, heart-wrenching, beautiful, moving, thoughtful, honest, intimate, painfully raw.
Many, many,many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
First, I hate when I open a graphic novel and instead find giant blocks of handwritten text wrapping awkwardly around a single spot illustration or a photograph. Some pages Krug doesn't even bother to include the illustration or photograph. And the coloring is just a rainbow of ugliness.
Despite the above, I initially found myself interested in the giant blocks of text. I was intrigued with the idea of exploring the guilt that hangs over Germans even several generations removed from the Holocaust, just as I as an American have to struggle with my country's history of slavery and the destruction and oppression of indigenous people. I also had some points of contact with the material as my mother's family came from Germany, though long before World War II, and like the author I had a grandfather named Alois. (By the way, each Alois was a farmer who had bad luck with a tractor: Krug's Alois was killed in Germany a couple years after the war, mine lost a leg in Wisconsin.)
But as the book progressed I just became increasingly bored by its meandering nature even as revelations were made and Krug flailed about trying to find mitigating circumstances for her ancestors' sins. I could barely keep myself awake as I trudged through the final wad of hideously colored pages.