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Little Nothings: The Curse of the Umbrella – Lewis Trondheim

07 Mar

I picked up Lewis Trondheim’s autobiographical graphic novel on a whim. Okay, more like I spied it in my brother’s room this past Christmas and swiped it when he wasn’t looking; I consider it to be in a state of permanent borrow-dom (sorry, dude). My brother has reminded me, on more than a few occasions, that I am to return it, along with the various and sundry video games I’ve, er, borrowed. Maybe I will one day, after I’ve bought my own copy.

But, getting back to the book, this little slice-of-life collection of watercolor vignettes follows Trondheim, the author of Mr. O and ALIEEEN, among other comics, as he navigates foreign travel, pet acquisition, and the flip side of good luck–all in the guise of an anthropomorphic white bird (rooster?).

Each vignette is loosely connected to the earlier ones, but you could really read them on their own without too much confusion. In fact, I was surprised to find that I didn’t feel like I was reading a book at all–more like I had stumbled upon someone’s art journal and (rudely) kept on reading. The thrill of going, “Me too!,” kept me turning the pages, whether it was watching Trondheim fail at gardening, people-watch at the train station, or worry profusely about the threat of exotic diseases during an overseas vacation. In other words, he’s just like you and me–a l person occasionally wrestling with life’s little absurdities. There isn’t a big, meaty plot, or an overarching theme–but don’t let that stop you from reading this. I loved the gorgeous illustrations, but mostly I loved how much I related to Trondheim and how I was reminded that even though life can be unpredictable, I’m not alone.

The last word: Buy, don’t steal, this book. And when you’re done, check out the sequel, The Prisoner Syndrome, and look for my review!

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