Thursday, 3 October 2013

Little Fish by Ramsey Beyer (review)

Photo by Stefan Freyr on Flickr 
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 - solid recommend, but get a physical copy!
Source: ARC from NetGalley (thanks Houghton Mifflin!)
Synopsis from Goodreads: Told through real-life journals, collages, lists, and drawings, this coming-of-age story illustrates the transformation of an 18-year-old girl from a small-town teenager into an independent city-dwelling college student. Written in an autobiographical style with beautiful artwork, Little Fish shows the challenges of being a young person facing the world on her own for the very first time and the unease—as well as excitement—that comes along with that challenge.

My life is in a lot of transition right now: I’ve just moved down to London, started a new job, I’m meeting a lot of new people, so Little Fish seemed like the perfect thing to read to reflect that. Although I’ve obviously finished Uni and come out the other side, I could really relate to Ramsey’s journey in an almost nostalgic way as she moves from her tiny town in the Mid West to an art college in Baltimore. I really liked hearing about the differences between her life there and growing-up in Pawpaw: from the difference in size, to the contrast between the harshness of the winters. I felt like I’d had a real insight into growing up in a small town, the remoteness of which you can’t really replicate at all in the UK. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the distances that you have to travel just to go to the nearest big city.

I also loved the list format. It created a slower pace than I’m used to (I’m a self-confessed speed reader), but I really appreciated the need to slow down and mull over the changes in the lists, watching how Ramsey gradually developed in confidence and got to know herself better. It’s actually made me write more lists. I use them a lot of work already but I think I’m more likely to use them for more abstract things now after reading Little Fish.

I enjoyed the illustrations a lot, I’ve had barely any experience of reading graphic novels but I felt like this one was a great one to start with as the artwork was quite simple and classic. Like a very developed cartoon strip in a way. Unfortunately I was reading it on my eReader - this is one instance where I really wished I had a physical copy in order to appreciate the book to its fullest.

Little Fish is a cute, reflective read perfect for those about to embark on a big life change, or those who have already struggled through one. But definitely go and support your local bookshop and get a physical copy - it’ll be worth it! #BooksAreMyBag

Have you read Little Fish? What did you think? What about graphic novels in general, are they your thing or are you hesitant about trying them?

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