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Thursday, March 03, 2016

Reader's Diary #1268- Tom Hart: Rosalie Lightning

It's not often I shy away from a book because of the threat of an emotional wallop. But, I picked up Tom Hart's Rosalie Lightning from the library last week and read the summary and I wasn't sure I could handle it. It tells the true story of the unexpected death of Hart's daughter and the emotional impact it left on Hart and his wife.

The art in Rosalie Lightning is not beautiful. At times it even looks rushed. But it always feels purposeful. In the happier flashbacks, Hart and his wife have whole (be they still simple ovals) eyes, in the grief stricken panels, they're scratchy and hard to focus on. It makes sense. The most rushed looking panels take on an air of cathartic release.

A theme, and not a surprising one considering that Hart teaches sequential art, is the importance of signs and symbols. In the wake of Rosalie's death, Hart and his wife are always betrayed by signs, glancing back almost hopelessly to consider signs they might have missed. But eventually signs start to help them heal.

In the nightstand beside my bed is a stack of photos. My wife, who religiously updates our family photo albums, threw in a bunch of extras that she didn't have immediate use for. It's my sleepy, go-to well of bookmarks. When I was done with Rosalie Lightning, my bookmark fell out and only then did I realize that I'd been using a photo of my own daughter. A sign not to take things for granted.

Thank-you, Rosalie.

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Wow. That sounds like a powerful, if difficult, read.