Friday, May 14, 2010

4. Paul in the Country

Rabagliati, Michel. Paul in the Country. ASIN: B001NA62LW. Drawn and Quarterly. First Edition, 2000.

Plot Summary
During the fall, Paul takes his wife and daughter Alice on a vacation to his father's cottage in the Canadian countryside. Along the way he notices how things have changed. The countryside has been exchanged for trendy housing developments, and his old escape is becoming a modernized mess. Paul reflects fondly on taking the same journey to the cabin as a kid. He remembers the sights, and the smells of his childhood and is saddened by the way his world is becoming smaller everyday. He remembers the tragedies and happiness experienced during his teen years and enjoys making new memories with his wife and daughter.

Critical Evaluation
Michel Rabgliati's reflection of his life in Paul in the Country, is a refreshing piece of graphic storytelling and art. His comic strip style and use of bold curved lines give his panels a sense of innocence and softness that helps to reflect the gentle nature of his childhood memories. Paul, who is an almost alter ego of Rabgliati, walks through his memories as he makes new ones with his daughter. The almost seamless transition between past and present creates an alluring effect that invites readers into the very personal past of Paul's life. Rabgliati is able to convey his personal memories with tremendous humor through his illustrated characters and their exaggerated facial expressions.

Readers can't help but find a part of themselves in Paul's story. The long car rides playing with siblings, the road trip songs, and crisp country air are universal to the family vacation experience. Paul's trip down memory lane will inspire for many readers their very own. Paul in the Country is the perfect comic book for reluctant readers or those looking for something that doesn't involve a crime and a cape.

Reader's Annotation
In the blink of an eye life changes and it will never be the same. Suddenly you're married, you have kids, and your old vacation getaway in the country is surrounded by modern amenities that attempt to tear down the fond memories of your past.

Author Information

Michel Rabagliati is a graphic designer and illustrator from Montreal, Canada. Growing up, Rabgliati was an active comic book reader and enjoyed French titles such as: Tintin, Spirou, Gaston, and Asterix. Rabgliati would spend hours on end recreating the characters from these comics and this practice would help to shape his design aesthetic. Starting his career as a graphic designer, he found success by publishing his illustrations in The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The Advocate, and The National Post.

In 1990, Rabgliati was contacted to create a logo for comic book publishing company Drawn and Quaterly. This job reignited his passion for comics, and in the year 2000 his first comic book attempt, Paul in the Country, was published by Drawn and Quaterly. The success of this title has inspired three further memoir editions that include: Paul Moves Out, Paul Gets a Summer Job, and Paul Goes Fishing

graphic novel, memoir

Curriculum Ties


Book Talking Idea
How has life changed for Paul from the time Paul was a child?
Why do we find change upsetting as we get older?
Why do you think Paul is so distraught over killing a bird, but not when he caught ten fish?

Reading Level
Grades 7+

Challenge Issues

Reason For Selection

I wanted to include a variety of graphic novels in my blog to showcase the range of different genres that are available for teen readers in the format. Until this assignment, I was really only familiar with superhero comics, but now I have discovered the diversity of genres and topics that exist outside the superhero realm.

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