Review – A Family Matter by Will Eisner
A Family Matter has sat on random bookshelves for around 15 years and has moved house with us multiple times and never been read until today. This is an old book, published in 1998 but still holds up as the theme are timeless.
A Family Matter
Families, love them, hate them or indifferent. You're likely to have an opinion based on the virtue that you're more than likely part of one.
I read the back cover way back when and knew that my heart would be torn reading it and it was, but in a good way. Excellent writing . Insightful pictures.
It had to be the right moment so I couldn't feel too sad at the hurt people I would be introduced to.
It was well worth the wait.
The Plot Summarised
In these 68 pages we see a dysfunctional family portrayal that that is too real for comfort. As we learn more about the characters in particular the patriarch Poppa and the long dead Momma, we despair about the reach of people who should never have been parents. Showing favouritism, undermining self confidence, labelling the children and worse yet abuse. This results in children who as adults have no benchmark for good parenting and repeat the pattern of hurting themselves, their children and others.
Siblings – Got To Love Them?
The sibling relationship is challenging, adversarial, ultimately lacking as there was no basis for shared mutual understanding and love. These people are really strangers to each other.
I never wonder why broken people who are self destructive, who can’t build relationships, who lash out physically and emotionally to others, who are constantly failing at making positive choices in their life behave the way they do, because it’s obvious that something in the background, their past, relationships, whatever, has contributed to the person they are now. The only query is ‘what was the big bad‘ .
In this short graphic novel that background is eloquently told. The family dynamics are …too accurate, too believable.
This story and the corresponding images are tight. Seemingly set in the mid 1900’s, sepia toned and black and white renderings has a big impact when depicting the gender and cultural issued raised and faced by this family. These are real characters with personalities that jump off the page. Expressions and emotions are wonderfully conveyed, the desperation, desolation and pain are powerfully yet subtly displayed.
Hard Going But Worth It
A challenging read despite the fact that most ‘difficulties’ are hinted at, mentioned once, inferred or glossed over. Because it leaves your imagination to fill the gap, between the characters perceptions of what happened and reality as viewed from an external perspective. That gap is an uncomfortable place. It says much about relationships that are forged from biology and not choice.
If you need a review that actual discusses the plot, check out the Wikipedia page.
5 Stars - It Was Amazing