Wednesday 29 May 2013

Naming Monsters by Hannah Eaton

I assure you I am not showing off when I say I am probably the country’s pre-eminent teenage cryptozoologist. Actually, that isn’t the right word. I think a cryptozoologist might be one of those people who stand around in khaki waistcoats getting aroused about yetis.
I must be a monsterologist, then. That’s no less embarrassing, but it can’t be helped. I have known now for a year or so – a year last April, to be exact: monsters are all around us.
Published in Junes 2013 by Myriad Editions
Pages – 170 . Graphic Novel.
Goodreads Summary
The year is 1993, as we join Fran on a wild ride around London while she navigates the grief of losing her mother. Tales of strange creatures that might have been introduced at each stage of her journey. Her adventure, often with best friend Alex in tow, is a psychogeography of the city and its suburbs, punctuated by encounters with Fran's semi-estranged dad, her out-of-touch East End nana, a selfish boyfriend, and the odd black dog or two.
As Fran says herself: monsters are all around us.
This is a rather sad tale drawn upon from the author’s own experience of losing her mother during her teenage years. Fran, the main protagonist, is seventeen years old and struggling to come to terms with the death of her mother. The death has propelled her journey into adulthood faster than she would’ve liked. The people that surround her either don’t know how to help her through her grief or selfishly can’t be bothered. As she works through each stage of her grief, you feel strong compassion for her and pity that no one was there for her.
As she takes her lonely journey from girl to woman, you watch as she learns to separate childish fantasies from the grim reality. Each section of the book begins with a description of a certain type of monster, that you find instantly replicated within the people she meets in that section, showing the hidden evils that lurk within us all.  You also watch helplessly as Fran travels through each stage of grief to work out how she can live without her mother.
The pictures are beautifully drawn and very detailed. The book is completely in black and white, which I felt added to the dark tone of the book. The content is quite sexually graphic at times, giving the book a harsh look at love, life and sex.
This is the first graphic novel I’ve read in years and it reminded me how much I enjoy them. A stunning and yet poignant look at life after the death of a loved one through the eyes of the young at heart.

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