Rating: Significant Shortcomings
Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: J.P. Stassen
Illustrator: J.P. Stassen
Publisher: First Second
Have you ever lived through something that completely changes you? A young Rwandan man, Deogratias, has. This intense graphic novel fades in and out of different story lines and people surrounding the 1994 Rwandan genocide of the Tutsi people. Young Deogratias is confused, frustrated, and overwhelmed by the events going on around him. He turns to drinking Urwagwa to escape what he saw and was forced to do, eventually turning into a dog, barely recognizable as human.
The Rwandan genocide came from a complex situation. The helpful foreword by Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse clarifies some of the multifaceted aspects of the devastation. The story line is confusing for readers who know little about the intricacies of the events. Background knowledge is presumed. Each of the people in the story line represent a group of people and ways they contributed to or dealt with the adversity. Because of the ugly nature of the events, the graphic novel is quite explicit in language, sex, and violence. In the end, it is obvious that tragedies leave wreckage in their wake.
*Contains severe language, severe sexual content, and severe violence.