Lost Soul, Be at Peace

Mag­gie Thrash, Can­dlewick Press (OC­TO­BER) Hard­cover $18.99 (192pp), 978-0-7636-9419-7

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews Graphic Novels -

Mag­gie Thrash fol­lows her highly re­garded mem­oir Honor Girl with an­other graphic-novel mem­oir, Lost Soul, Be at Peace, which para­dox­i­cally in­cor­po­rates mys­te­ri­ous fic­tional el­e­ments to cre­ate an au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal story that’s in­no­va­tive and thought­ful.

The book in­tro­duces young Mag­gie, who’s grap­pling with study­ing Ham­let in school, the de­par­ture of her brother Drew to col­lege, and the mys­te­ri­ous dis­ap­pear­ance of her beloved cat Tommi. Add de­pres­sion to the mix, and the sud­den ap­pear­ance of a ghostly teenage boy be­comes an al­most welcome dis­trac­tion.

Thrash ex­pertly mis­di­rects around the iden­tity of the ghost, toss­ing out de­tails that seem in­signif­i­cant at first but later re­veal them­selves fully, fit­ting into place with Mag­gie’s own life. There are par­al­lels to Ham­let and other clev­erly dis­guised clues; com­bined with the weight of its emo­tional im­pact, Lost Soul, Be at Peace re­wards a sec­ond read­ing on sev­eral lev­els.

Thrash’s art keeps it sim­ple but never skimps on the de­tails that give the story a sense of verisimil­i­tude, ground­ing its fan­tas­tic el­e­ments. Maps of Mag­gie’s house, news­pa­per ar­ti­cles, web­sites, and movie scenes are all recre­ated in the con­text of Thrash’s nat­u­ral, some­times even crude draw­ing style, which shuns per­fectly straight, ruled lines in fa­vor of an or­ganic, free­hand ap­proach.

The clever ad­di­tion of the ghost to the story raises an other­wise solid and af­fect­ing mem­oir to some­thing more mem­o­rable, a genre-de­fy­ing “fic­tional mem­oir” that ful­fills its lit­er­ary am­bi­tions and never be­trays the story’s un­der­ly­ing truths.

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