Book Review: Talking Lines

Talking Lines

Looking at those short congratulatory praises on the back cover just makes me go "Seriously?", "In a class by himself," says The New York Times. Seriously? Well, there's another way of interpreting that line though.

I don't question the story, the squiggly lines which are claimed as "minimalist, tembling, even hesitant, manage to express a universe of uncommon perfection." I just don't find them funny by newspaper-comic standards, nor striking compared to political cartoons. If a statement is trying to be made, then I can't remember anything distinct as I'm writing this review, except that it's not exciting.

It's not a book to be read in one sitting. The squiggly hand written font are exhausting to read. And every story probably needs some time to digest, that's if you can digest in the first place.

There's this story of Columbus (pg 86) demonstrating to a king that the world is round with and egg. Impressed by presentation, the king gave him three boats. Months later when Columbus returned, he was sent to prison by the king because he had food poisoning from eating the egg presented earlier.

Another one's about some strange abbey that baked some terrific bread. It became so famous their bread went global. Several younger monks decided to form a new bakery, but no one could remember the recipe. End of story.

And then there's Georgie, the story of a man, his dog and a pin. Basically about how a pin changed a man's life, drawn and told in one small cartoon per big blank page, for 108 pages. I'm not sure what's the point the small size of the comic on each page is trying to tell me.

Basically, the stories lack punch.

Blechman might have had his comic strips graced magazines like The New Yorker, but I guess those audiences have a particular taste.

So this wasn't really an engaging book for me. Truth be told, I struggled to finish reading it.

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