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Brave on the Rocks: If You Don't Go, You Don't See Paperback – August 14, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Harrison's Spilling Open, the market phenom first published by a small press and then picked up by Villard, attracted young women in droves and was the subject of a USA Today cover story. The highly photogenic 25-year-old Canadian-born author/artist's next move was a retreat to Italy, armed with the paintbrushes, scissors, glue and pencils demanded by her montage art, to better reckon with the sudden external pressure. The result is part visual journal, part travelogue, part self-help guide and part feminist manifesto in a form reprising Spilling Open's collagist aesthetic and ethos. In it, Harrison speaks a self-questioning language most young adults will recognize immediately, whether they are famous or not: "Sometimes I feel isolated even more because readers may think that now because I am published... the aches... the questions... and the doubts must vanish... not so quickly" is sprawled across the second piece, in a childlike hand, which switches freely between lower case and capital letters, cursive and print. Comprising nearly 200 colorful collages, many incorporating writing, the book takes the art-therapy style espoused by SARK (Eat Mangoes Naked) and many others to further heights of art and catharsis, and ranges from mundanities ("The wrinkled balled-up black skirt just isn't pulling it off. It's better than shorts and a fanny pack for me though. No extra butt bulk!") to commentary (on tourists: "gripping onto their man's hand, him always leading the way, so much snapping pictures for proof what kind of proof? I don't believe in traveling this way") to mournful introspection. . (On-sale: Aug. 14)Forecast: Expect big sales among Gen-Y lipstick-feminist postslackers, denizens of the 11 cities Harrison plans to tour. Adults who were captivated by Griffin & Sabine may find this reality-based chronicle similarly compelling signaling a possible breakout, and certainly revived sales for Spilling Over.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Written in her teens, Harrison's first book, Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself (2000), was a published journal of stylish, sometimes witty collages and simple text in the tradition of Peter Beard. Personal, immediate, and filled with common angst, Harrison's creation earned her a large following of like-minded teens and young women. Her latest follows a similar formula. The text is a catalog of yearning, hope, and insecurities resembling song lyrics, written a few sentences per image. Overwhelmed by the impact of publishing, she travels to Italy, has adventures ("Zipping along the Riviera on a motorcycle in a bikini singing U2 songs out loud"), and returns home resolved to hang on to her newfound confidence. The art is the book's most interesting aspect. But the direct text will attract young advantaged women, who, in struggling with a similar multitude of options, will appreciate Harrison's personal charge: "What do I have to see? Where do I have to go? Learn that." Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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And it is good, just the same style, in a purely wonderful way. It is still as untidy and rich and interesting and colourful as the first. If you didn't like that one, you won't like this.
Although you can tell she has developed new interests and talents, new artistic styles, yet it is just like the first, and equally lovable. I do, however, find 'Spilling Open' a little more healing, Sabrina is much more vulnerable and open, much more 'dishelved', yet 'Brave on Rocks' is more akin to a travel journal, and there is a slight distance between composer and audience that wasn't present in the first.
It is truly very magical, and very worthwhile. Its a real shame it is not available in Australia and other countries out of North America (as far as I know.) If first venturing into Sabrina's work, I strongly suggest you purchase the first one first, though I am not in any way, shape or form discouraging the purchase of 'Brave on the Rocks'. It is as lovely as anything she could produce, which is pretty lovely.
I truly hope there is more where that came from, she has altered my notion of beauty in art.
The pithy text hadn't evolved either; again, I know it's based on her journals, but in a lot of cases I wondered why this information was shared with us, because it seemed like filler, not vital. This being the case, I'd rather just look at the art and have the journaling aspects minimized. I must say though, she must be a fairly secure person (though she doesn't seem to see herself as such) to put all her personal baggage right out there in print.
This book seems to have an identity crisis going on: part diary, part art book, part self-help, part adolescent studies. I'm sure it was very healing for her to write, but it comes across as weaker than her first book and not different enough from it. Hopefully she can evolve rather than become a stagnated person who never manages to change: why bother to keep writing if everything is staying the same?
Brave on the Rocks is a comort to read. It is inspiring and convicting, it is a message to the reader that they indeed are not alone in any of their doubts, fears, and worries about their own lives and creativity. It's a good book to keep by the bed along with Spilling Open.. open it to any page before going to bed, and you're sure to end your day feeling better about yourself and the world around you.