The Story: Two girls are growing up in America. They are in school and are tied up in all that a life like this includes. They discover a friendship that develops into more. This is their story. Told in one panel to a page snatches of story. This is an innocent love story told with heart.
The Review: Listen. This reviewer (me, I mean) is in his mid forties and I have to admit that most of the time I have lost my faith in the ‘young people’ of today. I kind of find most of them cliché ridden annoyances. But occasionally, rarely even, my faith is restored in the future of this medium that we love by the appearance of fully formed talents like Tillie Walden.
This is the second book I have read by Tillie and this is now my favourite. The format is unusual in that each page is one panel. They don’t, at first inspection, lead sequentially in movement but they do in time and they certainly do emotionally. We get a snap shot of the lives of two girls who are discovering their feelings and futures through the slow and tentative forward steps they take to become friends and possibly more.
These snatched moments and conversations between the two high school girls are tremendously heartwarming, sad and most importantly real feeling. I challenge you not to wipe back a tear at a couple of moments in this comic. It is the uncertainty of the two girls in what seems to be their first real emotional relationship that will break your heart and make you love this book.
The narrative short circuits exposition and explanation. There is absolutely nothing superfluous in this story. Everything is trimmed back to reveal the real and true moments in their lives. From someone so young (Tillie is 19 years old!) this is astoundingly well conceived and constructed.
I know I’ve posted a number of reviews in the lead up to Thought Bubble but this comic and its inciteful innocence was so touching it deserves to be read and recommended. I cannot recommend this more highly. One of my books of the year.
• You can find Tillie at www.tilliewalden.com pop over and have a look at some more of the art from this book that is launching this weekend at Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds
Many thanks for reading
Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer – his hips don’t lie.