Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Lost Soul, Be at Peace - a review

Lost Soul, Be at Peace
by Maggie Thrash
Candlewick Press, 2018

Librarians are always trying to ensure that all people are able to find people like themselves in books—people with disabilities, people of color, people from all nations and religions—it’s not only important that we see ourselves in books, but it’s important that others see people like us so that they may learn that while we may be different, we also have much in common. But I’ve often wondered…what about those who are depressed? Do they want to see themselves in books too, or does it painfully reinforce the depression from which it is so often difficult to emerge? I asked a dear family member who suffers from depression. She told me that it all depends on how the story is told. I think Maggie Thrash has told her story well in the graphic memoir, Lost Soul, Be at Peace.

 Eleventh grader, Maggie is depressed,
“It’s like, you're falling into a deep cave on a moonless night, and there’s no escape, and suddenly you realize: it’s not a cave, it’s your soul.” 
 Maggie is failing school, her brother has left home for college, her father is an introverted, workaholic judge, and her mother is a socialite with whom she has little in common. She’s fairly certain that she’s a lesbian, but contrary to what she thought, coming out at school didn’t make things any better or worse. She finds comfort in her cat, Tommi. When Tommi goes missing, Maggie’s search for her turns up something else entirely.

Maggie tells her story in graphic novel format with the emphasis on dialogue. Back story information is handwritten in memoir style, or provided in illustrations of newspapers, computer screens, notes, or other drawn realia. The panel style varies and includes full spreads, three-per page, classic comic book style, and gutterless panels. My review copy is in black and white, but judging from the cover, the colors in the finished book will be dark and rich. Even without color, emotion is clearly visible in Maggie’s large eyes and expressive face. That she is ill-at-ease in most situations is painfully obvious throughout most of the book, but yet, her position as person in charge of her dance group offers a hint that Maggie has an inner spirit that is only awaiting an opportunity to soar. She is not a girl without hope; she is only a girl searching for her opportunities. She will find them.

Look for this book in October.  My copy was provided by LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.

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