Written by MK Reed
Illustrated by Jonathan David Hill

I had such high hopes for this book. It’s a graphic novel exploring the theme of censorship – restricting people’s access to certain books deemed “bad” in some way. It’s about two boys, friends, one gay, who are incredibly into a female-fronted fantasy series that’s all about family and honor and doing the right thing.

It started to go downhill when the “evil” parents were over the top monsters. That seemed false. Yes, I know there are religious fanatics (um, I was raised by one). However, flat and static doesn’t work in a character. Dynamic, three dimensional – that’s what I like. You don’t get a pass because your book has pictures.

Then, came this:

This is one of the main characters in the book. A good guy. A guy who’s recently been turned on to “cool” music. And the lyrics smack of classism and fat shaming. 

But it gets better!

Yay, slut shaming! Love it! Um, not really.

Do I expect all books to conform with my personal viewpoints? Of course not. I’m not telling anyone to ban this or any other book. But this is a great example of a book where you might agree with the main theme, but still take serious issue with some of the other views presented. And here, it felt like the author had an agenda. She was beating it into you: Censorship bad! Books good!

It just didn’t work. Too bad. Like I said, I had high hopes.

Want more like this? Try:

  • Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451. The classic book on limiting society’s access to book. Which, um, I still haven’t read. But I will! Promise!
  • Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis and Persepolis 2. Two graphic novels with a nuance, multilayered examination on living in Iran, during and after wartime – censorship and all.

One thought on “Americus

  1. "However, flat and static doesn't work in a character. Dynamic, three dimensional – that's what I like. You don't get a pass because your book has pictures."I love this. Flat or stereotypical characterization is the surest way to lose me as a reader. I haven't read Fahrenheit 451 yet, either… :/ It's on my list, though, I swear!

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