I dedicate this blog to comics in all forms, manga, autobio, superhero, art books, etc. And of course, since I need a challenge, I've decided that I'll read and write (short) reviews for 365 comics during 2015.
I've enjoyed Lasko-Gross' memoirs, Escape from Special and A Mess of Everything, so when I saw this new fictional graphic novel available from the library I knew I had to pick it up.
Henni, is about a girl being raised in a strict society that does not encourage questions. Henni has questions. She is also observant and clever. After her father is beaten and exiled from her village she grows more distant and less easily swayed to obey the random rules of the village.
For example, if she crossed the "Ring of Death" will she really die? They say that god chooses whom they marry, but weighted pies seem to have more bearing on that decision than any heavenly body, so why should she believe anything?
Henni makes the decision to test her theory, but betrayed by her own sister she is threatened with death by stoning. Luckily, with the help of a fellow non-follower she is able to escape, but to where?
Henni travels to a nearby 'enlightened' village where she again finds herself in trouble and ultimately she must make the decision between just going along and blending in with society, or taking the risk of striking out on her own.
A frightening world, but it has it's beauty. My favorite part was when Henni was asked to say what a certain creation story teachers her. She takes three pretty spot on guesses, but in the end it turns out it's just that women, as usual, are all evil.
Lasko-Gross really gets the religion debate right on the nose. These tiny little differences cause such strife and each 'lesson' has a debatable, easily changeable and often completely manipulated meaning. Whoever has power dictates what words have power and what that means to the minorities.
A very powerful and thoughtful work.