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Bayou Paperback – June 2, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Extremely beautiful, scary and wonderful, this Web comic takes readers to a pair of almost familiar, frequently threatening worlds. We first journey back in time to Mississippi, 1933, where a black sharecropper's daughter, Lee Wagstaff, is learning how to be strong in a segregated society. While Lee and her white friend, Lily, are playing near the bayou where black victims of racial violence are thrown, Lily is abducted by a monster—but Lee's father is blamed. To save him from a lynch mob by rescuing her friend, Lee enters the parallel universe of Dixie, where Southern folklore comes to life in disturbing echoes of our world. There she meets the eponymous character, a hulking creature living alone in a shack, troubled by disturbing memories and threatened by hateful embodiments of the South's violent past. When Lee convinces Bayou that he doesn't have to remain a victim, the two of them set off on a joint quest for understanding and redemption. Love's script and art, laid out in big blocks like Sunday comics, are lovely and eloquent; Morgan's coloring fills the panels with hazy sunlight and menacing darkness. (June)
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"Beautiful artwork partnered with a powerful story has drawn BAYOU comparisons to the lush film Pan's Labyrinth. If you thought you'd never pick up a comic in your life, this one may be the right kick to your cerebellum."
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Top customer reviews
Due to its content, I would recommend this novel to mature young adult readers. The artwork may appeal to a younger reader, but the theme of the story isn't to be taken lightly. Racism has been deeply rooted in the South, and that is not new to us. However, younger readers may be deeply affected by some of the graphics (including lynchings, a child being swallowed by a giant, "violence" in general, etc.). I only recall one instance where profanity was used.
Love plays on the phenomenon of a fantasy-like world where Lee, a young African American girl, sets out to save her father by delivering the truth. Her daddy has been accused of a crime that he did not commit. In a "white world" he is destined to be lynched. Lee wants to prove his innocence. The world she ventures into mirrors the world she lives in." I believe that the Kansas City Star sums it best by saying this novel is "Spellbinding...powerful stuff, filled with hope and hate and trust and betrayal." The truth is, our world can be not so pleasant at times. This should not surprise anyone, but may leave younger readers full of questions and mixed emotions.
It will leave you hanging, so I encourage you to purchase Volume Two with this book. There will be a Volume Three available in the future.