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Stop Making Sense

I read anything that's nailed down, or even just moving slowly. Cereal boxes, candy wrappers, all genres, etc., and I don't always have much time for arbitrary distinctions like literary fiction vs. genre fiction.

Boxers & Saints - Gene Luen Yang

In a nutshell, this is the story of the Boxer Rebellion in China, told in graphic form from two perspectives: that of Little Bao, a boy growing up in traditional fashion in a small village, and "Four-Girl," a runaway who finds a home in a Catholic missionary-led community. Both children are driven by visions over the years, of Chinese gods and of Joan of Arc, respectively.


This is a tough one for me. Better go with the Pros-Cons approach.


--Shines light on topic uncommon to a general American audience (and elsewhere, most likely)
--Equal weight/ given to male and female protagonists and to traditional and Catholic Chinese sides.
--Outstanding graphics: simple yet rich and evocative
--The fantastical elements (visions) fit in nicely with the form of the novel.


--The tight focus necessarily limits context, although info can be gleaned by reading between the lines, er, pictures.
--I still have some cognitive dissonance when this art form, which I most often associate with light topics/humor, is used for serious or dark subject matter. I also had this issue with Maus, with which I think Boxers & Saints is comparable in quality. Your mileage may vary, of course.
--In the end, as with most war stories, I'm left with the feeling of "what a waste."

I'd recommend this novel for fans of the graphic form, adult history buffs, Catholics, and high-school history classes.