Monthly Archives: December 2017

Graphic Novel Review 166/365: Poppies of Iraq

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days! Or search #GN365 on Twitter.

No specific theme this week…just some cool books that you should know about!

Title: Poppies of Iraq 

Author(s): Brigitte Findakly and Lewis Trondheim

Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly (2017)

Age Rating: 13+

Poppies of Iraq, written and drawn by husband/wife creative team of Brigitte Findakly and Lewis Trondheim, is a very personal, often disjointed story of a woman growing up in Iraq during unstable times.

Very straight forward in its narrative, Poppies of Iraq heavily relies upon six panel pages with brief descriptions over each panel.  The dialogue is scarce since the narrative tells much of what is going on.  The book does contain a few splash pages and pages of real photographs of Brigitte’s family, but it does primarily stick to the six-panel layout.

What I find most interesting about the book is its narrative structure.  The first half of the book contains many instances of moments captured by our creators, many of which are separate from the grand narrative.  Small memories come to the surface, and those are offered to us, just as we experience and remember our own childhoods: in segments…some good and some not so.  As the book goes on, however, the story seems to tighten up and we get less and less of those snippets the older our protagonist becomes.

Poppies of Iraq is a wonderful addition to the graphic-memoir genre.  I have reviewed a few graphic memoirs this past year, and the ones centered around individuals growing up in the Middle East are some of the most thoughtful and engaging.  Findakly and Trondheim paint a profound portrait of culture, family, and what it means to call something “home.”

Happy reading!


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