Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Black acrostic follwed by rambling

Things one will find in Black Hole by Charles Burns:

B - Bizarre mutations
L - Loneliness
A - Alienation
C - Creepy, yet somehow beautiful, art
K- Kainotophobia

H - Hope and hopelessness
O - Originality
L - Lots of Love--young love, obsessive love, unrequited love, sweet love
E - Epidemic

Yeah, sorry about that "k" one...I was having trouble there. Oh okay, I apologize for all of it. But good heavens...have you read this?!! It is so not an easy thing to describe...

It's a graphic novel. As in the medium of storytelling. It is also slightly graphic, as in there are naked people, sometimes having sex. It is also graphic, as in the artwork is very bold and vivid.

It's a story about growing know, those teen years. It's a story about change. It's a story about figuring out who you are and where you belong.

To be perfectly honest, through about the first third of this book, I couldn't quite figure out whether or not I even liked it. For some reason, it just took a while to click with me. But once it did, I could hardly make myself put it down. And yes, I ended up liking it very much.

It felt so real, so authentic. It was set during the 70s, during those years when I too had entered my teens. Perhaps sadly :P, I related to their clothes and their hairstyles. But far more, I related to their lifestyles...hanging with friends, getting high, intense feelings of new love. Luckily, there was no sexually-transmitted virus out there causing bizarre mutations, like tails and second mouths, as there was in the book. But there was a sexually-transmitted virus out there beginning to take lives...for my high-school/college days were the early days of the AIDS epidemic.

But I hope I haven't made this sound immature and shallow. This book is not "about" teens partying. It's about navigating new territory. That new territory we all encounter as we leave childhood behind.

I found this book at turns frightening and tender and repulsive and heartbreaking. And truly, truly different from anything else I've ever read.


  1. Unusual find. Not sure that I would enjoy it though. I get very embarrassed when graphic books are actually sexually graphic. I blush profusely!

  2. I'm guessing this wouldn't be a good book for me, eh?

  3. i like your acrostic.

    Burns use of the heavy black and white is very beautiful and incredibly atmospheric. it was creepy and disturbing on enough levels that though i enjoyed it, was okay reading it, i couldn't do it again...course, following Black Hole with David B.'s Epileptic may have caused the actual permanent damage as Epileptic is also a long dark novel...

  4. Yay for reading Black Hole! This was a really weird book, but I liked it. Probably because it was different. :)

  5. How clever of you to write an acrostic for the beginning of your review! (Can I copy that idea sometime? :) I'm not much good at YA, or graphic novels, still unable to 'color outside the lines' in those two genres, but I appreciate you telling us about this work.

  6. So I think I'll go ahead a try this one!!! It's one that I've been on the fence about for ages...what do you think? Do you think I'd like this one? Oh and I absolutely love your acrostic :D So much fun!!!

  7. This sounds quite interesting!

  8. Vivienne,
    Unusual is the perfect word! :)

    Yeah, I really think this is one you should avoid.

    I really wanted to read Epileptic! In fact, I even checked it out from the library once...but for some reason I seem to be a bit afraid to dive into it. I think it's that long, dark aspect you mentioned. ;)

    Yeah, weird is right! :D

    Of course! And I'm sure you would write a far better one than I!

    You know, I really do think you'd like this one, too! I really do.

    Yeah, interesting is definitely a good descriptor for this one. ;)

  9. I LOVE the acrostic idea Debi! You're so clever. :)