For those who didn't already know I worked in my college library for the spring and summer of this year. I would process and shelve many books during this time. I discovered many books that I wanted to read, and was told by a few of the librarians that this was an "occupational hazard". One such book I found was this one in the history section. The title on the spine interested me as I know the Mohawks are a nation located within the Central New York region. So of course I was interested in reading this as I have always been fascinated by Native Americans, and my part of the world. Upon seeing that it was a first hand account(based on journals from a Dutch trader) and a graphic novel I knew that I had to read this.
I know that a few people on Goodreads had given this poor ratings, and I think that these people were anticipating a prose/narrative type graphic novel, and not a literal journal entry text. I think this is better than a narrative story, because this was what a real person had seen and documented. I found it amazing that these people had walked from Fort Orange( which is modern day Albany, NY) to the CNY region. THEY WALKED! They didn't travel in wagons or by horseback...they walked. What takes us a few hours to drive these men walked that distance on foot, and through snow. That in itself is amazing. I know that the artist tried to best portray as accurately as he could the people of this region, so it may not be spot on, but it's pretty damn close. It was interesting seeing the different nations that these men came across, and how they traded wampums for beaver pelts. It was also interesting how the culture was shown in such things such as comunal living(long houses), diet,songs, medicine, religion, war, and peace relations among the different nations. I wonder if the big lake that they talk about if it is Oneida lake, as I tried to look at a map and approximate where they had traveled. As someone who lives in this region I found this to be a very fascinating account of people who lived here some 400 yrs ago. While it is not the best graphic novel it is a very good one that I rated 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. Whether you are interested in a different type of graphic novel or history of Native American peoples you may too enjoy this book.
I first came across this book just shortly after it's release. I was processing it to be put on the shelves at the college library I work in. I had glanced at this book more than a few times, and it piqued my interest. I had not heard of the author at the time, and now realize that he is the writer of Understanding Comics. I now wonder if he took what he learned while writing that and applied it to this work. Of course a few months had gone by before I finally decided to pick it up and read it.
My first impression upon delving into its pages I was thinking that it might be just another overly hyped book that everyone is raving about but not really worthy of the high ratings that everyone seemed to give it. The artwork is not that impressive, and is minimally colored in Shades of blues and greys. The scenes are almost cinematic in the way they are laid out and the story is quite fast paced. Even though the beginning was slow, and it had some silly parts I decided to push on just so I could see what all the fuss was about. It wasn't till I got about halfway when the main character meets Meg that I started to see just why this book had charmed so many.
This book made me feel a variety of emotions upon reading it. I will admit that it is very emotionally charged, and can see why so many have become speechless by the power of this book. It is a read that is intended for mature audiences, and I would not recommend children viewing it, as it does contain graphic scenes, and ideas. A song by the Rolling Stones seemed to some up a theme that I got from this graphic novel, and I will link the video below. This is a very poweful story about the hunger, and drive of a struggling artist, and how he wants more than anything to be remembered and to make his mark in the world. I did get the feeling that the author was writing about himself and people in his life( if you read the afterword it reveals how some of the characters were developed). I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, and if you want to read a thought provoking and emotional story then this is the one for you. Even if you don't usually read graphic novels, and don't let the size of this intimidate you I read it rather quickly in just a few days.