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Month in review

The Broken Lands by Kate Milford
Cleopatra in Space: Secret of the Time Tablets by Mike Maihack
Giant Days, Volume 5 by John Allison
Knight's Castle by Edward Eager
Knock About with the Fitzgerald-Trouts by Esta Spalding
Made for Each Other by Paul D. Storrie and Eldon Cowgur
Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett
Pastoral Cities by James L. Machor
Poison Kiss by Ana Mardoll
Puppy Love by Jennifer L. Holm
The Road Movie Book edited by Steven Cohan and Ina Rae Hark
Rosemary Remembered by Susan Wittig Albert
Roughneck by Jeff Lemire
Shopaholic & Baby by Sophie Kinsella
Thyme of Death by Susan Wittig Albert
The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Us Conductors by Sean Michaels
Volkswagen Blues by Jacques Poulin and translated by Sheila Fischman
Waiting by Kevin Henkes

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (August 07, 2017)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (August 14, 2017)
July 2017 Reading Sources
July 2017 Reading Summary

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8

Roughneck: 08/08/17

Roughneck  by Jeff Lemire

Roughneck by Jeff Lemire is a graphic novel set during winter in a small, rural Canadian town. The main character is a former hockey star who now struggles with alcoholism and basic day to day living. He works a dead-end job and dreams about his glory days. All that changes, though, when his sister stumbles into town.

The sister has her own problems — drug addiction, an abusive boyfriend, and an unexpected (and perhaps, unwanted) pregnancy. She gives him a reason to rally and likewise, he gives her a reason to clean up her life and start making plans for the future beyond where her next score is coming from.

For the most part the illustrations are done in pen and ink with a watercolor wash. Most panels are black, white, and light blue or mint green. Warner colors are saved for moments of nostalgia or violence, making the blood all the more startling.

Top panel shows boots rendered in a monotone blue. Bottom panel shows a full color rendered ice skate and hockey stick
an example of color as nostalgia.

As with The Underwater Welder, Lemire uses the road narrative (or in this case, the road motifs, as he does most of his story telling through the visual arts) to convey the isolation the characters are feeling. The town is small; the road is small and long — hinting at how far away they must be from larger towns and the help they might need. A character going through a crisis or emotional turmoil is often shown alone on this long road, a miniature figure against the vast sky and snowbanks.

Vertical panel showing a winter night scene along a curving road with a woman walking along the edge.
The sister walking towards town.

Five stars

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