Not For Your Eyes

My book club’s most recent pick was a graphic novel.  I had never read a graphic novel.  I still haven’t.  Well, not the whole thing anyway.  I couldn’t make the meeting and so didn’t feel the pressure to finish, so I didn’t.  The book, Essex County by Jeff Lemire, has been critically claimed and, I am sure, deservedly so.  I, too, appreciated the haunted, hallow eyes, the effective “splotchy” drawing, the gravitas of the words.  I just couldn’t handle all those pictures.  I would want to skip them.  Of course, skipping them – there are pages without words – meant skipping the story.  So I resorted to scanning them, but that still left me flipping back to look again, having missed some critical – drawn but not mentioned– development.  It’s not like I didn’t like the drawings.   I did.  There were just too many of them.  Leading me to conclude that graphic novels are just not for me.  So much of our lives revolves around the visual, and while reading is, of course, also visual, it is so in a very limited way.  In a way, as it turns out, I find to be relief.

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