Foto de l'autor

Deb JJ Lee

Autor/a de In Limbo: A Graphic Memoir

1 obres 110 Membres 12 Ressenyes

Obres de Deb JJ Lee

In Limbo: A Graphic Memoir (2023) 110 exemplars, 12 ressenyes


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Deb is of Korean descent. Her outlier status becomes even harder in high school. Her mother is alternately supportive and verbally abusive. Deb's friendships falter and change. Deb is in the space of being seen as foreign in America and not Korean enough for Koreans. Art is what saves Deb, especially an art class in New York City where she can escape her New Jersey environment for a while and eventually find some peace with herself and her heritage. Lee's dusky blue monochromatic drawings felt suited to portray Deb's loneliness but were not a match for my aging eyes.… (més)
Salsabrarian | Hi ha 11 ressenyes més | Jul 2, 2024 |
Gr 8 Up—In this breathtaking memoir, Lee masterfully portrays the experience of being in between worlds and
cultures as a first-generation Korean American navigating high school. Emotion and detail fuel the ink-washed pages
as adolescence, mental health, loneliness, and a fragile mother-daughter relationship are explored with nuance and
raw honesty. A stunning piece of work that takes the comics medium to new heights.
BackstoryBooks | Hi ha 11 ressenyes més | Apr 1, 2024 |
TW: Suicide attempt, suicide ideation, familial abuse.
Thank you to NetGalley, Deb JJ Lee, and Macmillian for an ARC of this graphic memoir. I enjoy the niche of Asian American graphic memoirs such as Trung Le Nguyen's The Magic Fish, Laura Gao's Messy Roots, and Thi Bui's The Best We Could Do. The medium of comics and illustrations provides the opportunity for the storyteller to distort reality and to create images that are difficult to replicate through live-action film and tv. The medium provides a visual texture, and in that regard, Lee's technical work exceeds that. Lee's backgrounds are to marvel at and they create some cinematic moments. There are some creative transitions as well. I also appreciated that their Dad was supportive of them, though at times he was complicit/complacent about their Mom's abuse. I'm curious if Lee felt that way though.

Now getting onto the cons.

The blurb section comparing Lee's memoir to Bui's work feels unfair to compare in terms of tone, form, and content. Bui's work deals with a heavier subject of Vietnamese refugees who have experienced the historical violence of French colonization and the Vietnam War. That's not to minimize Lee's experience; however; their lived experiences are too dissimilar from Bui's parents to be compared to. Using Bui's work as a shorthand is a disservice to both of their works and weakens Lee's work. Lee's work reminds me of someone like Anna Akana due to Akana's focus on mental health.

Reviewing a memoir can be difficult without devolving into the creator's personal life, but Lee shares a common experience of a middle-class Asian American. Lee's work would appeal to someone in Subtle Asian Traits. Their childhood was a collage of assimilation such as not liking Korean language school, having an abusive mother that wanted them to get the best grades, losing their Korean language skills, double eye-lid surgery, and having an English/Western name. One moment especially is cliche where they find themselves forever stuck in between their American and Korean heritage, where they're too American for their Korean side and too Korean for their American side. This trope specifically is trite and doesn't tread any new ground.

Even though the relationships between Lee, Quinn, Kate, and their Mom were central to the graphic memoir, their interiority felt hollow or not developed. The beats between Lee and Quinn feel surface-level. I was interested in learning more about Lee's Mom, yet her backstory isn't all that really developed. I also kept wondering about their family's departure from Korea and the specificities of their moving between places or living in New Jersey. I wondered about the Korean community in New Jersey or how Korean people thought about mental health.

I wish I could say that Lee's closure or resolve with their Mom was thoroughly felt, but it didn't. Part of Lee's memoir could have more details and develop the relationships and characters more such as Quinn, Kate, and their Mom.

I would have preferred a black-and-white color palette or creative use of colors throughout the work. I look forward to seeing Lee's work in the future and seeing what she creates. On a technical level, their illustrations are good though their narrative and writing have room to grow.
… (més)
minhjngo | Hi ha 11 ressenyes més | Mar 28, 2024 |
Thank you to netgalley for this arc!

What a beautiful, gut punch of a book. It really reminded me of my experience in highschool, dealing with this feeling of otherness, especially when you find a friendship that you really settle into and rely on really heavily. My heart broke for her over and over again, and my younger self. Beautiful debut, beautiful work.
eboods | Hi ha 11 ressenyes més | Feb 28, 2024 |





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