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You'll Never Know Book One " A Good and Decent Man" Hardcover – April 29, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: You'll Never Know (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (April 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606991442
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606991442
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 12 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #646,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In what is obviously a labor of love, Tyler tells the story of her father's time during WWII and her parents' early relationship, skillfully interweaving it with Tyler's own story. We see her as an adult artist and mother, creating the book even as she deals with tumult in her own life and marriage. This first volume in what will be a trilogy about her father's life, and her own, provides a moving, personal portrait of one member of what's become known as the greatest generation. Tyler's use of colored inks gives the line drawings an inviting depth of emotion, creating lush worlds of WWII, the house where Tyler raises her daughter and 1950s suburbs. The drawings speak with an even greater richness thanks to the evocative words that appear within and around them, commenting upon and adding to the action portrayed in the panels. An important contributor to independent comics since the 1980s, Tyler has made a name for herself with the quirky warmth of her autobiographical stories, and this wonderful book is a thoughtful work that greatly adds to the language of the graphic memoir. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up—As she reached middle age, newly single and with a teenage daughter, Tyler decided to explore her father's long-unspoken experiences as a GI during World War II. Unlike Alan Cope in Emmanuel Guibert's Alan's War (Roaring Brook, 2008), Tyler found herself dragging recollections from him and realized that she was forcing him to face traumas he had never shared with his family. As she sets down the record here, she also recounts the father she grew up with, how his wartime experiences may have molded him into the parent she knew, and her current life. Both visually and narratively, Tyler keeps all these threads nicely wound into an account that carries readers along and shows how various pasts inform the present, how vulnerable parents can be, and how wartime can create minefields later in life. Her gently colored artwork is expressive and goes far to bring eras of the past to life through dress, hairstyles, and dance moves. Budding artists will appreciate Tyler's design elements, including palette choices and the use of her parents' scrapbooks as source materials. Beyond attracting teens interested in their grandparents' lives in young adulthood, the story here will touch those who are just realizing that the older people they think they know have their own burdens and secrets.—Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Carol Tyler (C. Tyler) is an award-winning American cartoonist, painter, writer, educator and comedian best known for her autobiographical stories that reflect her struggles and triumphs as an artist, worker, wife, daughter and mother. The legendary cartoonist Robert Crumb describes her work as having "...the extremely rare quality of genuine, authentic heart. Hers are the only comics that ever brought me to the verge of tears." Cartoonist Chris Ware refers to her as " of the true greats of the original Underground Comix generation."

Born on the north side of Chicago in the 1950s, Carol Tyler was the middle child in a working class Catholic family. Taught by nuns from K-12, she graduated from art school in Tennessee and then received an MFA in painting from Syracuse University in the 1980s. While in graduate school, she became interested in sequence and narratives.

Aline Crumb was the first to publish her work in Weirdo Magazine beginning in 1987. In 1988, Tyler was awarded the Dori Seda Memorial award for Best New Female Cartoonist. Her work has been nominated for Harvey, Ignatz and the Eisner Awards (multiple nominations) and she was named on the list of the Top 100 Cartoonists of the Century.

For over two decades, her work has appeared in various publications like R. Crumb's Weirdo, the L.A. Times, Twisted Sisters, Kramers Ergot 7 and the Yale Anthologies.

Ms. Tyler's current project is a trilogy. "You'll Never Know" is her search for the truth about what happened to her father during World War II, and also about the damage his war had on her future relationships. Douglas Wolk of the New York Times writes: It's impossible not to compare " 'You'll Never Know' " with Art Spiegelman's "Maus," the first great graphic novel about what happened to a cartoonist's father during World War II. They're very different sorts of books, though, in both their means and their ends. "Maus" is largely Vladek Spiegelman's own testimony amplified by the book's abject, minimal style and the allegory of its cat-and-mouse imagery, and is only secondarily about its creator's relationship with his father and his struggle with the enormity of his topic. Tyler's book is a vivid, affecting, eccentrically stylish frame built around a terrible silence.

"You'll Never Know Book I: A Good & Decent Man" was released in May 2009. YNK Book II: Collateral Damage" was released in September, 2010. "YNK Book III: Soldier's Heart" will be released in 2012.

She has two solo short story collections, The Job Thing (1993) and Late Bloomer (2005), both published by Fantagraphics. Studs Terkel called her first book The Job Thing "A Beaut!" And Andrew Arnold of Time magazine said, "While graphic novels have educated, entertained and provoked their audience over the course of their brief history, rarely have they inspired hope. Yet, that is exactly the effect of Carol Tyler's Late Bloomer... She leads by example."

Tyler lives in Cincinnati and teaches a very lively and popular class on comics, graphic novels & sequential art at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. She has brought her current book theme, military service, into the classroom.

Ms. Tyler is also a Residency artist in the Arts Learning Program with the Ohio Arts Council.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Crumm on June 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in interviewing men and women around the world. Across those decades, I've profiled Holocaust survivors, Holocaust rescuers, Japanese internees, Tuskegee Airmen and a whole host of other men and women who played notable roles in the global conflict that still defines our world.

What Carol Tyler discovered and turned into the first volume of a new series is this: Millions of American families were shaped by men and women who served in WWII. But, most of those men and women, especially those who actually experienced combat, rarely talked about their wartime experiences. This was true in my own family in which the discovery of a shoebox of photographs resulted, some years ago, in a major newspaper story about a grandfather's remarkable and sometimes tragic life in the war years.

Carol argues passionately in this book that our rediscovery of these memories is vital to understanding the way millions of American families were shaped by the war years. I'm not alone in so strongly recommending this book and "seconding" her argument. She's also received high praise from the New York Times.

This first volume is formatted as an album-shaped graphic novel (a comic book format). We meet Carol and her daughter, plus of course her Mom and Dad--and a number of other people in their extended family. In Volume 1, Carol takes us through the opening up of her father's wartime memories, late in life, and her exploration of a photo album from that era.

I'm eagerly awaiting Volume 2, but right now--grab a copy of Volume 1. A big focus of my own work is trying to spot great resources for small-group discussion and this one is terrific. I can envision opening up this book with a small group, exploring the issues Carol lays out for us--then inviting a group to spend a month, or even a couple of months, opening up the memories in their own families.
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Format: Hardcover
There's a bittersweet quality to You'll Never Know, C. Tyler's disarming memoir about attempting to learn what her father went through in World War II. Shaped like a scrapbook (oversized, much wider than it is long), You'll Never Know is like a collection of memories, some old, some recently found, with the notes and perceptions usually written on the backs of photos moved front and center.

They're aren't any photos, of course; just Tyler's impressive drawings and inks, vividly colored in an amazing array of fluidity. The horrors of World War II are summed up rapidly in a one-page intro to the book. Of course, that's not the focus here, not really. It's the aftermath, the returning home of the Greatest Generation and their settling into their resumed lives that Tyler is interested in. "You would never know he had participated in it," Tyler writes as way of introduction to her father, Chuck. But she knows better than to think it is all due to modesty (an early image in the book presents a diorama of her father's city, a cloud above spelling out "Visible" and, tucked down at the bottom of the page with an arrow pointing up, the words "Not-all-scars R..."--a subtle way of spelling out "Not all scars are visible," thus giving us one small insight into Chuck's psyche).

As the memoir begins, Tyler is married with a child, but that soon changes. Her husband decides to leave to pursue a new love, leaving Tyler to deal with the emotional fallout. She focuses all the more on her father's story, trying to get him to come out of his self-imposed shell and reveal what he had been through. He acquiesces, and the dichotomy of present heartache versus past wartime trauma form the riveting crux of the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bumpkin Boy on August 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Carol Tyler has taken her talent to a whole new level. I've always liked her line and color and the unpretentious way her stories unfold - she doesn't tell the story she thinks you want hear, she tells you what IS! I didn't know what to expect from A Good and Decent Man - I thought I had probably read enough WWII memoirs but yet it was Carol Tyler and I wanted to see what she had to say. The book grabbed me on so many levels, it seems like an evolutionary step for autobiographical Graphic Literature. The art is beautiful and the storytelling is straightforward yet extrmely complex and resonates and gets under your skin like a well crafted novel. She weaves the story and leaves you hanging, waiting impatiently for the next installment. I read an online review that compared this book to both Maus and Fun Home, and wondered if it could live up to that kind of billing. Well, it's nothing like either of those books, but it's certainly in the same league. Can't wait for volume II!!
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