Review of Hey, Kiddo

Reading books like mine – Review of Hey Kiddo

Week 17: I have delved into the YA graphic memoir and I am learning quite a bit.

If you would like to follow from the beginning, start here.

Half of me is loving this; half of me wants this part done!

What I did last week

I read Hey, Kiddo. This is a graphic memoir by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. I don’t usually read graphic novels so this was an interesting book to explore.

As I said above, I love reading and really enjoy exploring other books like mine. And I want to get my proposal done! This is what we call a dialectic, no?

About Hey, Kiddo

Hey Kiddo is a graphic novel that also bring in images from the author’s life: old drawings, letters, cards, and photographs. It does have a bit of graphic language as well, but not more than The Devil’s Daughter.

Some reader reviewers commented on the language, saying it made the book inappropriate for youth. Hmmm? They can get sworn at in their homes, but not read about it in books? I have to disagree.

The book deals with the coming of age of the author, with an addicted mother and an absent father. It shows how Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s love of art helped him work though the chaos of his youth. Much of the story is told through dialogue and matter-of-fact language. It is meant for the 14+ age group.

My Notes from Reading Hey Kiddo

I was struck by the lack of colour in the drawings. I imagined that this was a choice but looking at his other books, this is his style. It isn’t that he doesn’t use colour. He uses colour sparingly, usually black, white and one color, it seems. Only his book covers are multi-coloured, although I didn’t look at all of his books so I may have this wrong.

I really enjoyed seeing his notes, cards, letters, drawings, and photographs that he scatters throughout. They really give context to the story. What a great idea for a memoir, whether it is a graphic novel or not.

He uses such plain every day speak in the book which I suppose adds to the realism of it. All of his imagery comes from the drawings, not the language. That is where my writing differs from his. I am not using images, so I am using imagery.

Review of Hey, Kiddo

Awards and Reviews

Hey Kiddo was a National Book Award finalist. Kirkus Reviews called it one of the best books of 2018. It received excellent critical reviews.

Readers also love it. Some readers have called it difficult to read and not uplifting because it deals with his reality without softening his experience for the readers. I understand that perspective and yet I don’t agree. I thought it was uplifting to follow his path and watch him find his place in the world despite his struggles. My first draft didn’t offer that and a developmental editor suggested I change that. I am glad I did.

The Devil's Daughter vs. Hey, Kiddo

Both this book and The Devil’s Daughter do not shy away from the realities of life with addiction, crime, and abuse. Both books use graphic language for the same reason, to not shy away from the reality of the authors’ experiences.  Where the books diverge are the style of writing and the voice of the authors.

Where he is more matter of fact, I tend to use more flowery language at times, and I use more sardonic adolescent humour, I think. I hope the humour helps make it easier to read. Hey Kiddo has the benefit of visuals where I do not. This really changes how you write.

What Am I doing this week?

What am I going to read this week? I don’t know yet. I have one more graphic novel to read, so I think I’ll read that next. It is called King of King Court by Travis Dandro. Reading both the graphic novels one after another is probably a good idea.

I’ll let you know next Monday.

Keep writing,

Melody Ann

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