12 Days

Kim, June. 12 Days (2006). 192 Pages. TokyoPop $9.99.

It’s not often that I read stories about death, or mourning. I have never been one for focusing on death. I prefer happy, light-hearted books about fuzzy warm things (like the cheesy romance novels I review so often). However, I do appreciate books that deal with the bittersweet, with mourning and moving on, with the sadness of those left behind.

Jackie and Nick have lost Noah, and neither feels really capable of moving on. They find some solace in each other, and some comfort in Jackie’s crazy ritual, but their story doesn’t end on the last page.

I normally try to come up with my own summary, but I’m really at a loss, so I’m going to share the blurb from the back cover of the book:

When Jackie’s ex-lover Noah dies, she decides the best and quickest way to get over the love of her life is to hold a personal ritual with Noah’s ashes. Jackie consumes the ashes in the form of smoothies for 12 days– hoping the pain will subside with her profound reaction to Noah’s death.

In this intense exploration of love’s power over tragedy and loss, June Kim crafts a moving tale that delves into the intricacies of family, friendship, and love.

There is a lot more to be said about this book than just its cover blurb. The artwork is beautiful, the dialog perfect. When characters are speaking, their words express their feelings, and when they are silent, it is visible in the artwork how they feel. It’s clear that Nick and Jackie find some solace in each other, and it’s clear that Nick knows more about Noah’s feelings for Jackie than even Jackie knows.

The past and the present really blend together, sometimes the definitions are clear, other times it’s blurred, and you’re not really sure when you’re looking at. It’s beautifully done though.

The Quick Version:

For a graphic novel about mourning, this book really is good. It’s subject matter I’m not usually into, but it somehow managed to end up on my bookshelf, and maintain a spot there for several years now. I periodically re-read it. It gets a 5/5 for being beautifully illustrated, and very in-tune with some realistic characters.

4 Comments

Filed under Adult Fiction, Book Review, Graphic Novel, Young Adult Fiction

4 responses to “12 Days

  1. Brrr, this sounds upsetting. I’ve just read two books about death this past week, so I’m not up for more right away. But I’m definitely keeping it in mind for later!

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    • I definitely wouldn’t suggest reading it right now then. I don’t ever really like death books, I’m a little too empathetic to book characters, and it makes me miserable to read them.

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  2. Eek! This sounds really intense; but you sum it up very well. Book about mourning are very difficult sometimes (‘The Lovely Bones’ is the only book that’s ever made my cry at the beginning!). – I might have to check this one out; seeing as I’ve never managed to finish a graphic nove – this one seems to have quite unusual subject matter for one.

    Also…drinking ashes in a smoothie? How dark is that?

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    • If you’re ok with books about mourning, and you have some familiarity with the conventions of comic book storytelling, then it’s a great one to read.

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