Friday, June 21, 2013
The Silence of Our Friends: A graphic novel review
Info: First Second, copyright 2012, 208 pages
As the civil rights struggle heats up in Texas, two families—one white, one black—find common ground.
This semi-autobiographical tale is set in 1967 Texas, against the backdrop of the fight for civil rights. A white family from a notoriously racist neighborhood in the suburbs and a black family from its poorest ward cross Houston’s color line, overcoming humiliation, degradation, and violence to win the freedom of five black college students unjustly charged with the murder of a policeman.
The Silence of Our Friends follows events through the point of view of young Mark Long, whose father is a reporter covering the story. Semi-fictionalized, this story has its roots solidly in very real events. With art from the brilliant Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole) bringing the tale to heart-wrenching life, The Silence of Our Friends is a new and important entry in the body of civil rights literature.
Another great graphic novel available in your local library. This gem reminds me a lot of To Kill A Mockingbird. There are obvious reasons...a town that struggles with racism, a trial that brings the conflict of civil rights to the forefront, and the coming together of two families from different sides of the track. While Atticus Finch was a strong, proud, yet humble man, Jack Long is human. His heart is in the right place, and his actions speak louder than words, but he's still flawed, still struggling. The same with Larry Thompson. He is a man of anger and frustration, but remains a main of integrity with the ability to forgive. The front of the book says it best, "the civil rights struggle was never black and white."
The language is real. The struggle is real. The heart is real. And the artwork is fantastic. Definitely a must-read.