I picked it up because of the title; you know me and my dog obsession. The first couple pages shows a guy talking to his teddy bear that’s strapped to his backpack. You may not know that I also have a soft spot for teddies. (I still have a blue bear named Bear that I’ve had since before memory).
This isn’t a feel good story though. It’s actually quite sad and heartbreaking at times. Some of the blurbs on this book refer to the white space and sparsity which, for me, made this comic feel a lot different than most I’ve read. It’s a story filled with emptiness, loneliness and desolation. Yet, despite all this, it is also a story of perseverance.
The main character is on a trek with no beginning and no end. His experiences and challenges are both internal (loneliness, grief, fear) and external (wild dogs, thieves, guns). What keeps him going when it seems like all is lost?
The drawing is simple but expressive. I really enjoyed spending the time reading this comic and I’m sure I’ll be looking at it again and again in the future.
Oh, and something to think about: I just reread Nilsen’s biography in which he writes, “Some teachers in high school even let me draw comics instead of writing papers.” Really, gives us educators out there something to think about, eh? I guess that’s a topic for another time.