Rummanah Aasi
    I found Gipi’s graphic novel, Notes for a War Story, on several lists created by the American Library Association (ALA). When I found it on the shelf from my public library, I decided to check it out. Initially, I thought the graphic novel was just another story about war, but Notes of a War Story tackles the issues surrounding what happens to people on the outskirts of war, particularly young men.

Description: In an unidentified Balkan country, Giuliano, Christian, and Little Killer wander aimlessly and are steering clear of the militia and the shelling that a ubiquitous war has brought to their homeland. When they get into the good graces of Felix, a charming and dangerous thug, they become involved in his operations, where their friendship and loyalty are tested.

Review: I liked this graphic novel, but found it hard to read mainly because of the text box was so small and the frames of illustrations were squeezed tightly. The themes of isolation, loss of a family, and what it means to be a ‘man’ are universal and prevalent throughout this story. I had a hard time liking the characters though and felt that I had met them in several other books that I’ve read. They didn’t stand out to me and didn’t leave a lasting impression. I did like, however, the fact that the war wasn’t specifically defined. I had a sense that people that live on the fringes of society can and will identify with the character’s desire of working in crime operations, their struggle to survive, the longing of a caring family, and the constant clash of social classes.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language throughout the graphic novel. Since the story takes place during a war setting, violence does take place but mostly occur off stage. Recommended to mature high school students and adults.

If you like this book, try: Kampung Boy or Town Boy by Lat
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