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Friday, November 28, 2008

The Shiniest Jewel by Marian Henley

From Publishers Weekly
Nationally published comic strip artist Henley offers a warm, funny memoir of adopting her son, William, which will make you cry. With its talk of yoga, dating and the wacky freelance life of a cartoonist, it starts off sounding like a Sex in the City for the Austin, Tex., set. It's not. Where many older women comic artists fall into triteness, quips about men and snark, Henley rolls the reader back to a place where different generations matter and life makes sense. Comics are known for craziness, but they're also a medium that, unlike prose fiction, has a talent for making art from happy situations. On the surface, the protagonist's life is going to the aging, creative woman's hell: approaching 50, childless, with a younger boyfriend possibly afraid to commit, and, oh, yeah, her dad's dying. But even as the adoption agency screws up again and again, people come through, and her father finally meets the new son. The art's thin black lines belie the depth of the book. The drawings' simplicity works with the story, but the lines could be more expressive. Someone needs to take her roller-ball away from her. Otherwise, it's a near perfect book, especially for women over 30.

The humor and creativity exhibited in The Shiniest Jewel make it a shiny jewel itself. I really enjoyed this sweet little book. This book is a result of the author’s experiences in adopting a baby from another country, but I suspect it will ring true with many people who have done the same. I imagine the roadblocks to completely these adoptions must be almost never ending; it’s a testament to the fortitude of prospective parents who manage to stick this out to the end.


Anonymous said...

Even my hubby liked this book.