Sunday, October 14, 2018

Reader's Diary #1931: Hope Larson: All Summer Long

I enjoyed Hope Larson's graphic novel adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time but have wondered about original works. Finally with All Summer Long I can say I'm a fan of her own storytelling as well.

All Summer Long is about one particular summer in the life of a thirteen year old girl named Bina. Her best friend Austin is off to summer camp and was becoming stand-offish just before he left. Her plans to relax in front of the TV all summer have squashed by her parents and she's bored. Maybe Austin's older sister will fill his void.

One neat thing about Larson's story is the way she uses really specific, unique details to somehow make the story seem authentic. I'll also say that the theme of young male-female platonic relationships struck a chord with me. As a child, I lived in a remote section of remote town and the only playmate I had nearby, other than my older sister, was a girl a year older than me a few houses away. I was pressured by parents to "hang out with boys" but preferred her company and used proximity as an excuse. But then, once we got older, I'd walk ahead once we neared the bus stop, fearing the teasing that might come if the other kids realized that we hung out. It was wrong. We drifted apart. In Larson's book there's a very similar situation but thankfully Austin is stronger and more mature than I was at the time and I could certainly have used this book back then.

Larson's art is simple and accessible, with a yellow monochromatic scheme that complements the summer setting as well as giving it an air of nostalgia for any old geezers like me who might just pick it up.


Buried In Print said...

I've lost track of her lately, but I quite liked her earlier book about girls at summer camp; I felt like the friendship was complicated in all the right ways. It sounds like there is a bit of that at work here, too. I just finished Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson and there are some neat reflections about coming-of-age and friendships which you might enjoy in there too.

John Mutford said...

Buried in Print: Thanks for the recommendations!