This is one of those ratings that I fully admit may not be equally applicable to everyone picking up this book. Yes, it's very, very good, but what makes it a five star for me may not hold true for everyone else. But oh
. For me? For me, this is the book I never knew I wanted to read until I held it in my hands, and once I did, I couldn't imagine not having read it before, much less not known
about it before.
It's a graphic novel (check) slash travel journal (check) that's as much about a mental journey as a physical one (check) through France (check), Morocco (check), and Spain (check) among others, with a particular emphasis on what it's like to travel alone (check), the glories and the mundanities of being an American in Europe and North Africa (check), the amazing food (check), and cats (check). Seriously. This feels like a story I could have written, if, you know, I were a dude with artistic talent and a heartrending love back home.
I love this book because it rings so very true for me from some of the very similar adventures I have had. I love this book because it is the graphic art equivalent of so much that I've tried to do with the written journals and photography I've done during my travel. I love this book because of how much better (and shorter) it says things I've tried to capture for myself. I love this book for the sense of "I've been there! I've done that! So true! Sotruesotruesotrue!" it gives me.
It's raw and it's personal and it's not perfect, and even though it was composed (drawn? written? both?) knowing that there would be an audience in mind, it still feels a bit like rereading my own journals from Brussels, from Marrakesh, from Granada, from Dijon all those years ago.
And did I mention the food? The lovingly detailed drawings and descriptions of the food? Because yes