Thursday, March 8, 2012


I read DRAWING FROM MEMORY on my plane ride to South Carolina a few weeks ago. The kids and Librarians were great there, by the way, but I digress. Anyway, I really loved the mix of drawings and photographs. At first I wondered if it would work but I was pleased to find that the photos really pulled me into the story. And the drawings are great.

This is a summary from the publisher that I got off of Amazon:

"DRAWING FROM MEMORY is Allen Say's own story of his path to becoming the renowned artist he is today. Shunned by his father, who didn't understand his son's artistic leanings, Allen was embraced by Noro Shinpei, Japan's leading cartoonist and the man he came to love as his "spiritual father." As WWII raged, Allen was further inspired to consider questions of his own heritage and the motivations of those around him. He worked hard in rigorous drawing classes, studied, trained--and ultimately came to understand who he really is.

Part memoir, part graphic novel, part narrative history, DRAWING FROM MEMORY presents a complex look at the real-life relationship between a mentor and his student. With watercolor paintings, original cartoons, vintage photographs, and maps, Allen Say has created a book that will inspire the artist in all of us."

It's funny, but the parts that fascinated me weren't told in great enough detail. Why, for example, was he allowed to live by himself at such an early age? Was this common practice? I mean, he was 11! He was in the 6th grade! If that was done in the US it would be child abuse. I was more fascinated by his relationship or NON relationship with his father and the distancing one with his mother. Also, there wasn't much student/teacher relationship shown. The teacher wasn't around much. What there was a lot of was a demonstration of Say's progression as an artist. I liked that at first (I mean, how cool for everyone to SEE what we artists do and how we grow as artists!) but at times I wished for more of the people parts of the story.

Lastly, I wanted to know what happened to Say in America! What happened to him with his dad? The reader is left hanging. Big time. I enjoyed reading this story but I wanted more. Could there be a part two perhaps? A what happened with Say and the people in his life? Life beyond the pencil perhaps?

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