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Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir Paperback – October 11, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—An intergenerational exploration of identity and family history in graphic memoir format. Jewish comics artist Kurzweil narrates her own coming of age as she contends with her therapist mother and her sometimes distant World War II survivor grandmother. The three women's stories interconnect as the young Amy goes from neurotic child to Stanford University graduate and working artist. Sprinkled throughout is her grandmother's testimony as a Polish Jew who escaped the Warsaw ghetto by pretending to be a gentile. Themes of guilt, Jewish identity, and the complex relationships among daughters, mothers, and grandmothers are central to this work and are expanded upon with humor and honesty. The loose, sometimes sketchy drawings are done in black-and-white and often fill the page, giving the volume a larger-than-life, all-encompassing feel. The images communicate what is often left unsaid by the characters. Joy, horror, connections, love, and family fill the spreads, reflecting the strength of each character. Because of the age of the narrator and most of the subjects, this book is better suited for older readers, especially those interested in the traumatic effects of war on families. VERDICT A good choice for libraries looking to bolster their graphic memoir collections, especially those seeking titles on the Jewish experience.—Shelley M. Diaz, School Library Journal
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
A Kirkus Reviews Best of 2016 Selection
A Junior Library Guild Fall 2016 Selection
A debut that enriches and extends the potential of graphic narrative.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Flying Couch is a wry and deeply moving exploration of what the Holocaust means to the descendants of survivors. Kurzweil artfully weaves her grandmother’s survivor testimony within her own coming of age story.” LitReactor
Beautiful and strong.” Miriam Katin, author of Letting It Go
Flying Couch is perfect. It’s perceptive, emotionally on point, surprising and funny in its details, told in an intuitive way that’s completely direct, and about something that matters. This is an important book.” Liana Finck, author of The Bintel Brief
Flying Couch is a moving, intricate story of identity and family history.” Ariel Schrag, author of Likewise and Awkward and Definition
I read Flying Couch in one sitting, without moving, literally laughed and literally cried.” Rachel Fershleiser, co-editor of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning
"Amy Kurzweil's moving debut is a story of trauma and survival, and a search for identity and belonging. Fluctuating, in words and images, from the bubbly to the intense, this graphic memoir exposes the complicated and powerful ways we are shaped by the histories and relationships that anchor us.” Tahneer Oksman, author of How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?
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Top Customer Reviews
Amy's maternal grandmother - Lily, born Luba - lost her whole family in the Holocaust. She survived by living as a Christian with false identity papers. Part of the book is about her life during the Holocaust, and the rest is about her life when she emigrated to the US after the war with her husband and daughter, Sonya, who is Amy's mother. Amy's family lived outside of Boston but met up with her grandmother fairly often.
Amy book's also includes her own journey as a Jewish woman, with the Holocaust in the not-so-far past and figuring out her own part in the Jewish future. Sonya, the generation between Lily and Amy, has her own worries. Amy Kurzweil's memoir is interesting and is a fresh look at the generational dynamics of Jewish families.
Kurzweil's graphic memoir is a moving tribute to the two most important women in her life: her mother and her maternal grandmother. Kurzweil’s grandmother was a blond 13 year old in 1939, and she survived the holocaust by posing as a Christian when her family was forced into the concentration camps. “Humor is mortar. It binds the bridge between the real and the unimaginable, between all we’ve lost…and what we can’t get rid of.” Kurzweil use of humor flows throughout “Flying Couch”, but also focuses on what binds family together through shared stories, tradition, and a deep familial love. Flying Couch is highly recommended for all, but especially for those who enjoy graphic memoirs like Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home”. Great YA appeal.