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Betty Blues Hardcover – November 1, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up—In this noir-inspired graphic novel, Rice Duck is one of the best trumpet players in the West Wood. When his girlfriend, Betty, leaves him for a slick millionaire, he throws away his horn and skips town to try and cope with his loss. With little backstory, it's hard to get truly invested in these characters and their relationships, but some dream sequences do provide background in an abstract way. However, once the main characters really start to develop and learn about what they have taken for granted, the story abruptly ends, which readers will find either poignant or frustrating. Though the story is lacking in parts, the illustrations are flawless; drawings are heavily shaded, leaving a bit of grit and rawness that perfectly matches the dismal tone and filthy settings. Slinky characters with oblong angles bring jazz-fueled craziness to life. Like a jazz song, Betty Blues is a short but wild ride that doesn't hit all the notes just right but comes together in the end and lingers well after the music is over.—Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WI

From Booklist

While trumpeter Rice Duck flies high onstage at the Tequila Sunrise, girlfriend Betty Blues (some bird!) struggles for liftoff with glass after glass of champagne. So, does Rice love music or her? In slinks fat-cat (literally) James Patton and, promising cases of top-shelf bubbly, gets Betty to ditch the trumpeter. Rice doesn’t notice while he’s blowing, and soon he plummets to the depths—he tosses his horn off a bridge (not, providentially, into the drink); hits the road; winds up shoveling coal at a clear-cutting camp; and befriends a big owl of a fellow worker who is planning to spike the lumber operation. Meanwhile, Betty, decked out in ice by her “benefactor,” is still drinking, but she’s also rethinking. Though Dillies’ (Bubbles and Gondola, 2011) line is more nervously energetic and his work’s aura less heroic (though no less romantic), his noirish plot most resembles the work of Dillie’s fellow French graphic novelist Christophe Blain (Isaac the Pirate, 2003). Not even fire glares in this dusky mixture of anthropomorphic animal comics and noir lighting. --Ray Olson

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: NBM Publishing (November 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561637580
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561637584
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,779,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Mansfield on November 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This has such a cute cover and at first glance may appear to be a children's book but it is NOT. It has a mature adult story and swearing. Set in perhaps the '30s somewhere in France, it is the age of Jazz, and this is the tragic affair of Little Rice Duck, the trumpet playing Jazz musician, and his love Betty Blues who dumps him one night in the bar for a rich sweet-talking man who promises her champagne and the good life. A very charming story as each goes their separate way. Rice gives up the life as he blames it for Betty's leaving him and he takes to the road meeting people, having adventures, and perhaps making a difference in this world while always pining for Betty. Betty, on the other hand, quickly finds out that being the trophy on a rich man's arm is not all it was cracked up to be and each day she pines more and more for her lost Rice until she regrets her decision. I found the story very touching and felt sympathetic to the characters. The ending is very shocking and tragic. The art is somewhat raw but I like the style and found it a delight. I thought this would be a much more simple book than it turned out to be and am quite impressed with the emotions it invoked in me. I'd be quite interested in checking out Dillies other work that has been translated into English.
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Betty Blues
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