I, Par­rot

A Graphic Novel

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews Comics & Graphic Novels -

Deb Olin Un­ferth El­iz­a­beth Hai­dle (Il­lus­tra­tor) Black Bal­loon Pub­lish­ing (NOVEM­BER) Soft­cover $18.95 (160pp) 978-1-936787-65-4

With her money trou­bles, an ex-hus­band, an ir­re­spon­si­ble boyfriend, and her young son, Daphne has a lot on her plate. When her boss of­fers her four weeks’ salary for two weeks of car­ing for forty-two birds, she be­gins to view her re­la­tion­ships through a feath­ered lens. Through that work and its un­ex­pected dif­fi­cul­ties, Daphne makes a de­ci­sion that will dra­mat­i­cally im­pact both the birds and her­self.

Deb Olin Un­ferth’s I, Par­rot weaves an af­fect­ing metaphor in­volv­ing pas­sen­ger pi­geons, and cre­ates a stark con­trast be­tween mean­ing­less pos­i­tive-mes­sage mantras, and ac­tual, hard-earned in­sight. El­iz­a­beth Hai­dle’s art, mean­while, at times re­sem­bles that of a chil­dren’s book in its ap­peal­ing sim­plic­ity. Char­ac­ters are made dis­tinc­tive by their rosy cheeks, in­di­cated by small, shaded, im­pos­si­bly per­fect cir­cles—but her il­lus­tra­tions are fully ca­pa­ble of por­tray­ing com­pli­cated, adult emo­tions as well.

Daphne and her boyfriend try to do the best they can for them­selves and for Daphne’s son, but their de­ci­sions are some­times frus­trat­ing. Their abil­ity to adapt is im­pres­sive, if fun­da­men­tally lim­ited---much like the par­rots they at­tend to. Still, their ef­forts to cope are en­joy­able to read about and, ul­ti­mately, are in­spir­ing.

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