Friday 20 July 2018

ReadItDaddy's Second Book of the Week - Week Ending 20th July 2018: "A Bubble" by Genevieve Castree, Phil Elverum and Anders Nilsen (Drawn and Quarterly)

Our second Picture Book of the Week delivered such a whump to our hearts that we just can't stop thinking about it...
"A Bubble" by celebrated graphic novel and comic artist Genevieve Castree ended up being her final piece of work before she died of pancreatic cancer.

Trying to imagine yourself in a position where you know your life is going to end horribly prematurely is bad enough, but also imagining how, as a parent, you would say goodbye to your child is just heartbreaking no matter how you describe it.

In "A Bubble" the story is told from the perspective of Genevieve's 2 year old daughter, who is far too young to understand what's happening to her Mama. It feels like Mama is trapped in a bubble. Sometimes she manages to carry on with life as normal, there's lots of fun to be had drawing pictures or playing but quite often her illness gets on top of Mama and it changes her character completely.

Sadly, Genevieve didn't get to finish the work, passing away from pancreatic cancer in 2016 but her husband Phil Elverum and artist Anders Nilsen agreed to finish this hugely important piece of work to honour Genevieve's memory and pay proper tribute to a creative mind that was cruelly taken away far too soon.

As a dad I always ask myself what legacy I'll leave behind for my own daughter, how will I be remembered and this book prompted so many questions of how I would handle knowing the end was coming sooner than it should, and what I would say to C in that event. I don't think I could leave behind anything as affecting and as beautiful as this book. It just begs to be read.

C's favourite bit: The way Genevieve plays and draws with her daughter, just like we do together.

Daddy's favourite bit: A heart-melting and important piece of work that will really reach out to parents and their children and perhaps make us think about our own mortality and the things we take for granted. Truly spellbinding stuff.

"A Bubble" by Genevieve Castree is out now, published by Drawn and Quarterly (kindly supplied for review).