Saturday, November 03, 2018

Reader's Diary #1946- Marguerite Abouet (writer), Mathieu Sapin (artist): Akissi Tales of Mischief

Growing up I used to love hearing stories of my parents' childhoods. Often they seemed to do such dangerous, stupid things-- were free to do so! And survived! The funny thing is, while I think my parents were more cautious than their own, when I tell my kids stories about my childhood, I also know darn well that I'd have a conniption if they did half of that stuff. Every generation, it seems, loses some freedom for adventure while their parents get stricter.

Reading Marguerite Abouet's Akissi: Tales of Mischief really took me back to those days of imagination and danger, of kids who misbehave but are not really bad kids at heart. I couldn't tell exactly when the book is set but I'd guess perhaps the 70s based on their obsession with Spectreman and on a Bruce Lee movie being shown in the theater. So, no doubt some of the titular character's misadventures could be chalked up to the times, but I was also intrigued by the Cote D'Ivoire setting. Are kids there today as restrained by helicopter parents as they are in North America, I wonder?

There are some more serious themes if one is to look (gender roles, for example), but for the most part the book is just a fun, celebration of childhood, warts and all. Complementing this lighthearted tone is Mathieu Sapin's whimsical, unpretentious art.

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