August 31, 2015

Recent Reads

100. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act
This volume collects issues #1-5.

What a great premise: Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. 

The art is wonderful and there is some very clever dialog, but the story line does not quite deliver on the premise. A little too choppy, with lots of dangling plot lines that did not come together in a cohesive manner. Still, a quick and fun read, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the next installment has a more cohesive plot. Rating: 3 stars.

101. The Underwater Welder
Book blurb: The Underwater Welder is a graphic novel about fathers and sons, birth and death, memory and reality, and the treasures we all bury deep below the surface.

The black and white art is really sketchy, maybe almost too sketchy for my tastes, but surprisingly it works really well for this story. The characters are tragically fleshed out, and the exploration of how childhood trauma haunts us was wonderfully done. Rating: 4 stars.

102. Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas
When I was in primary school, we had to read a book titled "Great Men and Women". Do I need to mention that Gandhi was the only person of color in the book? At least there were two women: Marie Curie and Florence Nightingale. I am glad that times have changed in that respect, and that young people can find books that are somewhat more representative today. 

In my home the name Leakey was used as often as the name Kardashian seems to be used by the media today, so imagine my delight in learning that Louis Leakey played a key role getting these women scientists started on their careers. There are some Goodreads reviewers who are unhappy with Leakey's stance that women would be better in the field because they were "more perceptive and more patient than men." Doesn't bother me one bit. Women getting a leg up because of a sexist attitude is actually a refreshing change.

This is a graphic biography of sorts about the three greatest primatologists of the last century: Jane Goodall (Chimps), Dian Fossey (Gorillas), and Biruté Galdikas (Orangutans). It is not non-fiction as the book blurb proclaims. In the afterword the authors state: "Some of what you just read is fiction." There are holes in this story, huge gaping holes, and when the lives of the three women intersect, the text is often confusing as to who is saying what. But I say that as an adult reader, and I plan to add the books in the bibliography to my TBR list.

This book is targeted for a young adult audience (read tween), so the art is cute and colorful, and the timeline and events highly simplified. This would be a fun way to introduce kids (especially girls) to these three ground-breaking researchers who each made profound contributions to primatology and to our own understanding of ourselves. Rating: 4 stars.

No comments: