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Trashed Paperback – November 3, 2015
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Derf Backderf’s graphic novel tells a less enlightened tale. The perspective is solely from the jaded view of a town’s trashmen. Page after page features characters – inspired by the author’s experience as a garbageman – trashing both their work and the people in the town. To break up the depressing loser mentality storyline, he throws in graphically illustrated statistics on the huge trash disposal problem in this country and its impact on the environment.
Backderf’s full-page to 9-panel illustrations are excellent (especially pages 232-233, see pic) and he puts a lot of interesting detail in each frame. But the relentlessly cynical storyline feels trashy. If Backderf was a more poetic voice, I’d say that was his point. I think this is a straightforward semi-autobiographical graphic novel with facts and figures, but little insight or symbolism.
If you've ever had to work a job where you had to take at least three showers when you got home to even BEGIN to get the stench off you, or even if you've just had one where you had to deal with a knuckleheaded work force and a pain-in-the-ass boss, you wll relate to this story. Derf's drawing technique gets better each time out, and his ability to tell an interesting story is as good as his work with his pencils and pens. "Trashed" is based on Derf's real-life experience. Although it's a novel, it feels real because it IS real.
Buy a copy for yourself, and while you're at it, get one for that teenager or young adult who sits by themself in the corner at family gatherings because they think nobody understands them. They'll be glad you did.
I will take the easy way out here and use another reviewer's excellent take on this book that reflects how I felt about it:
"There's this thing I tried to express before in a review of a play, about dialog and how it works and doesn't work, and then I read this article about Mad Max: Fury Road that crystallized the whole thing for me. Here's what director George Miller says about dialog.
At a simple level, you're not trying to use dialogue as exposition, you're using it as part of behaviour, and language itself is distorted.
Dialog can be really grating as exposition and really effective as characterization. Dialog tells you a lot, not through the information contained in sentences, but the language used and the way things are said. I think this is especially true and noticeable in film, plays, and comics because they have the expository visual tools to carry some of the load as well, so when dialog is used as exposition, it's extra painful.
I won't call Trashed lazy because it's not lazy, but when I write expository dialog, it's laziness. Always. It's a failure of imagination to show and demonstrate something in a better way."
This may possibly be the core of the issue for me: the dialogue. The conversations seemed a bit contrived and not very realistic. You don't need to expand on every little thing you say, because it takes away from what it is you're saying leaving you feeling a little...well, annoyed.
A very good book nonetheless, with great illustrations and graphics. Just needs a little more work in terms of characterization and story line.
Most recent customer reviews
I bought for grandson's summer book assignment. It kept his interest and made him aware of a horrible problem facing society today.Read more