In this collection of short graphic stories by Megan Kelso, readers go along on a personal journey which ranges from a young girl who deliberately ruins a dress her mother made for her, to a wayward aunt, to Alexander Hamilton. Each vignette is a separate tale, sometimes set over only a couple of minutes; other stories are set over longer periods of time. The stories are most often melancholy and show a young girl and teen who was often confused and disappointed by the adults around her. The autobiographical stories included in the collection are interspersed with stories of American History featuring such greats as George Washington and Aaron Burr; their inclusion provides readers a broader representation of Megan’s world – branching out from the largely personal stories that make up most of the book.
The art varies from story to story and ranges from black and white line drawings to fully colored and exquisite art. No matter the style of drawing or use of color, the characters will touch readers who will identify or remember similar situations in their own youth or home life. Oftentimes, I felt that there was a deeper meaning that I was missing as a reader, but I enjoyed the stories on a basic level, and felt that upon further readings, I could get to that deeper sense of the book. I truly identified with the adolescent Megan in her stories, and I’m sure other readers will be touched by her stories, as well. These stories will resonate with readers long past the last page.
The Squirrel Mother
by Megan Kelso
Fantagraphics Books, 2006