Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Review - Azadah

by Jacques Goldstyn
Date: 2016
Publisher: La Pastèque
Reading level: C
Book type: graphic novel
Pages: 56
Format: hardcover
Source: library

Au contact d'une photographe, une petite afghane constatera que le monde est vaste et que les possibilités sont infinies...

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is just depressing and weird. I'm not even sure if it's fantasy or contemporary.

A little girl named Azadah lives in war-ravaged Afghanistan. She's obviously made friends with a photographer who's come to photograph the conflict. But the photographer is leaving. Azadah begs her not to go, or to take her with her. She says (and she's probably right) that she won't have any opportunities if she stays there. She won't get to do any of the things she's dreamed of doing. But the photographer leaves anyway, getting into a UN truck and departing, but not before leaving Azadah her backpack of belongings. Azadah takes them all out and spreads them on the floor. She gets an idea; using sheets (or burqas?) from a washing line, she uses the objects in the backpack to build a hot-air balloon and fly herself out of the conflict zone. That's literally all there is to the story.

I'm not sure if it's supposed to be metaphorical, pure fantasy, or something else. But Azadah's pleas to not be left behind are heartbreaking, and the book just left me feeling depressed. Kids in war zones need more than imagination to help them get through the horrors they face. They can imagine themselves flying away, but that's not going to help them in reality.

There's very little text in this one (it's more of a graphic novel than a picture book), so I flew through it pretty quickly, even though it was in French. I think it could've benefited from being a little longer, though; as it is, the ending is kind of abrupt and the reader is left wondering what this point is.

Premise: 2/5
Story: 2/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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