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12 Days Paperback – November 7, 2006
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Top customer reviews
As soon as it came in, I automatically became infatuated with the simplistic design of the cover. Initially, I thought it was just black, but I moved it around a little and noticed that it was silver.
I began to read it, and I just kept thinking to myself how magnificent the story was. In a short book with minimal dialogue and simple realistic drawings, it's able to excellently portray the pain of loss and the love that is shared with a significant other.
Overall, I'm happy that I picked up 12 Days, it was surely worth the read.
Two, this is a daring book for a writer/artist on her first time out. 12 DAYS is a one-off graphic novel about two people living in grief. Jackie first lost her lover, Noah, to the heterosexual world and marriage, and then to death, as Noah died in an accident coming home from her honeymoon. Now, with the help of Noah's brother, Nick, Jackie is going to cleanse the memory of the departed from her system. She will do so by consuming Noah's ashes. Over the course of twelve days, she works her way through the jar, reliving her time with Noah in her head and developing a camaraderie with Nick. Yet, something keeps the girlfriend and the brother from bonding completely. There is some contention in their new friendship, and he definitely has something of his own going on.
The storytelling in 12 DAYS is confidently structured. June moves in and out of past and present with subtle transitions, sometimes purposely disorienting the reader to cause the two timelines to blur together. She also uses parallel actions so that one event triggers the recollection of another. The mourning is heavy, willfully so on the part of the characters. They want out of it, for sure, but they are going to squeeze every ounce of sadness out of each day they have allotted themselves. When they aren't speaking, what they're feeling causes their faces to sag; when they are speaking, what they say displays their emotions the way opening a paper fan shows us the picture between the folds. Even when Nick and Jackie tease one another, the jokes are morbid, and they can never carry them so far as to completely leave their grief. The writing is brutally honest, and yet the reader never feels crushed by it. We are a quiet observer, watching with fascination as the characters move from page to page.
12 DAYS is a remarkable comic. It deserves to be bought and read and praised by everyone everywhere. I can offer no higher praise. Get it now, thank me later.
Noah's brother, Nick, consoles Jackie after Noah dies young in a car accident. The story is viewed primarily through Nick and Jackie's recollections of Noah.
Jackie: "I don't think this wine thing works at all."
Nick: "Give it a few days. (Or decades)."
The story asks, among many other things, the question: When did the greater tragedy occur, when Noah chose freely to leave Jackie for one man, or when Noah died and lost the possibility of ever changing her mind?
The artwork is exceptional - I could explain the many things I like about the visuals in detail, but brevity persuades me to focus on the story.
The author June Kim understands grief. She thanks "the girl who told me a sad story about her ex-girlfriend 10 years ago." But Kim must be more than empathetic. Her creation and perspectives suggest first hand sympathies and knowledge of love(s) lost. How do you know you are experiencing unrelenting grief? Standard stories will discuss drunkeness, inability to move, and constant crying. But this story explores levels of grief beyond those stereotypical, well-known responses. Have you ever lost someone, and in that loss you wanted to cry in their mother's arms? Have you ever wanted to tattoo yourself with something to symbolize them long after they've passed away? Jackie does not manifest her grief in those ways, but she manifests it to similar degrees in different, uncommon ways.
The title of this review is a quote from the book, a quote with multiple meanings that will become more apparent if you read the book. And the last line of this book helps us understand why Nick makes such extraordinary efforts to console Jackie after Noah's death. Noah shared her secrets with Nick. Nick understood on an intimate level how much Noah cared for Jackie, and vice versa. And Nick was probably the only person who Noah chose to burden with that secret. Nick was asked to carry that secret by himself.
The book is more focused on dealing with grief from the death of a relationship than from Noah's actual death. The grief was re-born each day in Jackie (and possibly in Noah and Nick) while Noah chose each day to stay away from Jackie. While Jackie's loss is 'finalized' with Noah's death, Noah's death is not the primary reason Jackie's loss is tragic. Jackie's loss was made tragic by Noah's daily, repeated choices when Noah was alive.
Noah (to Jackie): "Eight years ago, I made a promise to Dad .. . Not to see you again."
The book asks: If one person ever asks you to promise to never love another person, will you? And how will that decision effect everyone involved?
Nick: "You want to forget about her? In twelve days? I can't let you do that."
I liked her delicate lines of drawings and the incredibly honest text that is conveyed effortlessly. She put some humorous elements in otherwise very serious and tragic story. They balance out the whole atmosphere of the book which would otherwise be quite heavy. I think June Kim really deserves attention for her fantastic debut work, and highly recommend this graphic novel.