Thursday, October 2, 2014

Comics Friday: I Remember Beirut by Zeina Abirached

I'm a day early, but feeling really lazy about posting, so you're getting this Thursday instead of Friday.
From Goodreads:
Zeina Abirached, author of the award-winning graphic novel A Game for Swallows, returns with a powerful collection of wartime memories. 

Abirached was born in Lebanon in 1981. She grew up in Beirut as fighting between Christians and Muslims divided the city streets. Follow her past cars riddled with bullet holes, into taxi cabs that travel where buses refuse to go, and on outings to collect shrapnel from the sidewalk. 

With striking black-and-white artwork, Abirached recalls the details of ordinary life inside a war zone.
Very well done.  I can really enjoy a good graphic memoir, and I think Abirached does a great job of bringing awareness to a historical event that many young readers may not know about otherwise.  Honestly, even as an adult, I had little knowledge of the conflict in Beirut and why it was fought.  I talked with some friends recently about how our world history classes never seemed to make it past World War II before running out of time.  Apparently this was another instance of that problem.  Abirached tells her own personal story, but opens up a portion of world history in general that may be overlooked otherwise.

Entertainment Value
Reading about war is never easy, but I think Abirached manages to make her graphic memoir engrossing nonetheless.  I would think that the intended audience is middle grade to young adult, but I think adults will appreciate it as well.  It focuses on Abirached's experiences, but would make a great introduction to a lesson on the war or as a companion in providing a first person experience.

Obviously, the place to go for comparison here is Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis.  The black and white graphic style is similar and with it being a war-time memoir it would be impossible not to compare.  This one is definitely intended for a younger audience, although I think that all ages can appreciate it.  As much as I enjoyed the story and learning about a subject I'm unfamiliar with, my favorite part was definitely the artwork.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review!

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