Book Review: My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris

My Favorite Thing Is MonstersMy Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In My Favorite Thing is Monsters, Emil Ferris creates a visual atmosphere that places this 400-page beast of a graphic novel into some truly special territory. As she weaves dual narratives of a young girl living on a tough side of the tracks in late 1960s Chicago and the abusive past of a woman coming of age under the Nazi regime in Germany, Ferris makes absolute magic on the page, serving a whole lot of sorrow and mystery on a zany, frenetic, cartoony plate. This volume (the first of a two-part series) showcases the author’s artistic virtuosity as she blends styles of 1960’s pulp horror artwork, traditional cartooning, caricature, classical fine art, and everything in-between. The story itself is demanding—it does not shy away from pain or inner demons, and in fact goes out of its way to help us understand how the world takes easy advantage of children without the means to defend themselves. And yet, the heroine’s voice is humorous, plucky, and determined: a trustworthy guide on a gritty voyage. The book can definitely hold its own with other masterworks of the graphic novel genre—Ferris’ visual voice is an important one, and I’m so glad that she decided to publish her first graphic novel in her fifties. It is a gift.

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