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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Reader's Diary #1933- Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Hey, Kiddo

Sometimes the strength and resiliency of people amazes me.

In Jarrett J. Krosoczka's graphic memoir Hey Kiddo, he presents himself as a rather meek albeit affable kid whose mother is in and out of rehab and jail, whose father is absent entirely until his later teenage years, and who is being raised by his sometimes rough-around-the-edges grandparents. Such issues are shown as "getting to him" emotionally, but he rarely seems to act out on it, copes with art, and for the most part keeps a positively outlook and is even able to forgive. In one scene, he's shown as being bullied by older kids in a high school gym locker room. He's included this memory, so it must have had impact, but that alone would have been enough to cripple me, let alone all the family drama. Somehow, Krosoczka comes across as amazingly well-adjusted.

 Obviously it's an inspirational sort of story and I suppose teens dealing with their own issues and unconventional families might appreciate it. I am assuming this was behind Scholastic's choice to publish it. That said, to me it felt more like the sort of story an adult would appreciate, given its reflective quality. With the burnt orange monotones, with the use of real artifacts embedded in some scenes, with the overall tone, it reads like an adult looking back rather than a child actually going through these things. Again, I realize that some teen readers will still gravitate toward such books, but to me it felt more like Craig Thompson's Blankets than say, Katherena Vermette's A Girl Called Echo.

Intended audience aside, I really enjoyed it.

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