David Small’s Home After Dark is a harrowing tale of male adolescence set in small town, rural America. Russell Pruitt and his father, Mike, move to Marshfield, CA after his mother has an affair with Mike’s best friend. Russell is forced to navigate this new town on his own while his neglectful father is often drunk and absent. This includes making new friends and coming to terms with one’s own identity as a young man. The book explores various themes of toxic masculinity including bullying, male relationships, and animal cruelty. Small’s skillful drawings carry the story as there are many pages that rely on the images alone. The story is also rich with characters who add depth to the text and populate this hostile world. While the themes are dark at times, they illustrate the pains young men experience through adolescence. The book explores how cultural norms defining masculinity can be harmful to one’s self and others. I really enjoyed this book, as well as Small’s previous graphic novel Stitches. Readers who enjoy books like William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and S.E Hinton’s The Outsiders may also enjoy Home After Dark.
A young teenage boy moves to a small town in California where he experiences the cruel loneliness and isolation that many teenage boys experience. The tensions result from uncaring or entirely absent parents, bullies, and pressures to conform. There isn't a lot of text in the book; however, the unique black and white art style conveys the emotional tone very well.
Drawings good, but story isn't convincing, childish tone.
Small has the incredible talent of illustrating the hope and the heartbreak in the smallest moments of our lives, and for capturing with brutal emotion the horrible experiences that define us.
In HOME AFTER DARK, a graphic novel, and not a memoir, it should be noted, Small introduces Russell, who, at age 13, is entering what will surely be some of the most difficult years of his life. Family, friendship, loss, compassion, identity -- all are laid bare on the page as we hope and suffer with Russell. An absolute wonder, even more so due to its difficulty.
Very well done - despite being largely wordless, the depth of emotion captured by Small is incredible - but it’s an uncomfortable read that touches on some very dark subject matter.
David Small does it again! A painfully honest, poignant story with a dash of hope at the end.
First my bias. David Small and I were good friends during our teenage years. I remember his great sense of humour, more than his cat doodles, which evolved into his award winning children's books' illustrations.
Now the book. It's so beautiful, that the sad story of one American adolescence is saved from being depressing. It is cinematically emotional. But it draws you in and, from the safe distance of being a spectator, gives you a thrilling ride through an entirely possible American coming of age. David has taken graphic novels to a new height. This book is Pulitzer Prize worthy.
I didn't want it to end. David may wish to retire. He's given so much, that he deserves a rest. Still I'm hoping for a sequel.
A graphic novel about growing up as a young boy in 1950s California. Shocking in parts and also heartbreaking in others.
Kyanite thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over
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