Miriam Katin was a Jewish child in Hungary during World War II.  We Are On Our Own is the story of what she and her mother went through during this time, as they were forced to abandon their home and run to the countryside in the hope that someone would give them shelter. The story is told in part through Miriam’s eyes and in part through the eyes of her mother, Esther. The two deal with hunger, cold, and prejudice as they try to survive and find Miriam’s father, who is serving in the war with the Hungarian army. But along with the privations they endure, there are also happy moments, and good people who help the mother and daughter to evade the eyes of the Nazis. The art in this book is a swirl of pencil-drawings reminiscent of sketches from a fashion magazine. Miriam Katin’s former work as an animator really shows in this graphic novel (her first): it gives her work a different cast than everything else currently on the shelves.  Her black and white penciled pages from her past are interspersed with colored penciled pages from her new life in New York, which further emphasizes the bleakness of her childhood in Europe. There is an implied rape (occurs off panel) that make this book more appropriate for older readers.

We Are On Our Own
by Miriam Katin
ISBN: 9781896597201
Drawn and Quarterly, 2006

  • Gina Gagliano

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