Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Me on The Isobel Journal

Title: The Isobel Journal
Author: Isobel Harrop
Release Date: August 1, 2014
Publisher: Switch Press (Capstone imprint)

This quirky, narrative scrapbook gives readers a witty, honest look at what it means to be a teenager. Using mini-graphic novels, photos, sketches, and captions, The Isobel Journal offers a unique glimpse into the creative life of eighteen-year-old Isobel, just a northern girl from where nothing really happens.

The Isobel Journal is a collection of honest observations by a teenage girl from the North West of England. This is how she sees her family, her friends, life, love, and herself in a place "where nothing really happens," all in a mixture of drawings, photographs, and little one-line stories.

The textual side is rather brief, a few words on most pages describing what's presented to the reader. But some provide insight into how she sees the world, whether it be about what she wants to be in the future or what it feels like to be in love. I found the parts where she talks about her likes of vintage clothing and records and indie music interesting. She doesn't apologize for liking them, but at the same time wonders how other people will see her. It's a curious mix of confidence in being who you are, being different, and shame at being different from someone who might not share your interests. That seems to sum up life right there: wanting to be an individual while not wanting others to see you as strange or different.

The visual side is a mixture of pencil or coloured pencil drawings and photographs. The pencil lines can be thick at times but her drawings are by no means crude. They're just as honest as her words. The book contains a wonderful collection of faces, all different, all characters in their own right.

It was refreshing to read this look into a teenager's life, to read her thoughts, her likes and dislikes. It was like a glimpse into a journal you would normally keep secret, tucked away in a drawer or under a pillow.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Capstone through NetGalley.)

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