Thursday, December 11, 2008

It Did Grow On Me


This fall I've been hearing quite a lot about Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. When I finally got hold of a copy, myself, I felt a little let down.

Skim is a goth girl Wicca wannabe in a private girls' school. She and her best friend are those outsider girls you always see in teen movies and, well, teen books. Skim and her best friend get on each other's nerves and grow apart. Skim falls in love with a teacher. Someone commits suicide. A popular girl is also depressed. Skim and the popular girl have something in common.

I felt that this wasn't a particularly original situation or storyline. However, I will admit that I finally got drawn in to the story. I just can't say I was bowled over by it.

I wonder if this is a YA book that really is best appreciated by YAs. I certainly believe that depression and misery are part of adolescence, but now that I'm no longer an adolescent, myself, I tend to find that scenario trite. A teenage reader of this graphic novel may very well feel that she's stumbled onto Truth. I found the teacher/love interest, Ms. Archer, who kisses Skim and then abandons her, damn close to a predator, and at the very least creepy. I had a feeling, though, that she was meant to be more benign than that. My jaded grown-up eye may have just perceived her differently.

Skim is nominated for a Cybil in the YA graphic novel category.

2 comments:

TadMack said...

Maybe there's a cultural component that you missed? School stories in manga often have aspects of Major Misery followed by Epiphany -- and you're right, it is sort of a YA trope in some ways, but I think you may be reading it more from a Western perspective?

This is not to say that I've yet read it, but I don't think you're necessarily simply jaded.

gail said...

The book was set in Canada and written and illustrated by Canadians. Is it manga if it's a western book? Am I showing my ignorance by asking this question?

Major Misery followed by Epiphany--Isn't that also an Oprah thing?