In this powerful new graphic novel from Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault, we meet Louis, a young boy who shuttles between his alcoholic dad and his worried mom, and who, with the help of his best friend, tries to summon up the courage to speak to his true love, Billie.
Louis’s dad cries — Louis knows this because he spies on him. His dad misses the happy times when their family was together, just as Louis does. But as it is, he and his little brother, Truffle, have to travel back and forth between their dad’s country house and their mom’s city apartment, where she tries to hide her own tears.
Thankfully, Louis has Truffle for company. Truffle loves James Brown lyrics, and when he isn’t singing, he’s asking endless questions. Louis also has his friend Boris, with whom he spots ghost cop cars and spies on the “silent queen,” the love of his life, Billie.
When Louis and Truffle go to their dad’s for two weeks during the summer, their father seems to have stopped drinking. And when Truffle has a close call from a bee sting, their mother turns up and the reunited foursome spend several wonderful days in New York — until they reach the end of the road, again.
A beautifully illustrated, true-to-life portrayal of just how complex family relationships can be, seen through the eyes of a wise, sensitive boy who manages to find his own way forward.
Arsenault's symbolic use of color and animated illustrations breathe life into Britt's quirky, beautiful story, which emphasizes that love is the bravest act of all.
This nuanced tale of an observant, sensitive boy finding his own brand of strength is bittersweet and beautifully composed.
An engagingly thoughtful and thought-provoking read from beginning to end.
A deceptively complex book — simple enough for children, but with enough layers to reward repeated readings by adults.
Britt writes with perception about the torment of first love and the pain felt by children caught up in a foundering marriage. … Arsenault excels at capturing characters in the grip of powerful emotions they’re trying to conceal.
An unflinching, delicate portrait of a boy and his broken family.