In this debut short story, Michael Podhaizer convincingly captures the emotional turmoil of a young boy’s feelings towards his abusive father when the boy suddenly, and realistically, has life-and-death power over his tormentor.
The story opens with two vignettes that establish the characters: the narrator, Richard; his father; and in the background, the rest of the immediate family—Richard’s mother and two sisters. The third section takes the reader to Richard’s critical moment of decision, and then the story doubles back to explore in detail how the situation unfolded, casting further light on the relationship between not only this son and father, but also the dynamics and sequela of abuse.
A well-written and moving first effort.
You can purchase “The Little River” for $0.99 here.
Note: Full disclosure – Michael is my son; that is why this review is posted here, and not on Amazon, where the out-of-guidelines criteria prohibit family members from posting reviews.
In a story in Library Journal titled “Graphic Novels for Reluctant Readers: 33 Titles” on 18 March 2010, Martha Cornog includes The Invention of Hugo Cabret. (She calls them “graphic narratives” in the introduction, which might be slightly less recognizable as a term, but more accurate in describing how this particular book is configured, given lengthy unillustrated narrative passages in a book in which illustrations are, nevertheless, an essential element.
So, I wonder: how much illustration does a fictional work need to be considered a graphic narrative?
Take, for instance, The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gentleman. Sterne includes black pages in memoriam Yorick, an illustration of the flourish the corporal gives his stick, and other elements without which the narrative would undoubtedly be altered and diminished.
I don’t have an answer, but I thought it a question worth posing.
Meanwhile, if you know of a child or student who particularly enjoys illustrated works or would be encouraged and supported in reading by the graphic elements in books, check out the LJ list.