The Girl’s Guide to Building a Fort

The Girl’s Guide to Building a Fort is about much more than simply fort building. This all-purpose reference book covers a spectrum of indoor and outdoor projects for adventurous girls. Young readers can work their way through the book’s various sections in any order or skip to topics of interest. The book’s detailed table of contents makes it simple for readers to find informational sections or hands-on activities in each of the six “Let’s Be…” sections: Scientists, Trailblazers, Athletes, Artists, Builders, and Chefs. The end of the book features cute badges readers can earn for completing a certain amount of activities from a section, one activity from each section, and some other special options. 

The Girl’s Guide to Building a Fort has many strengths, including the fact that it features a wide range of information and instructions for participating in diverse activities, both indoors and outdoors. The instructions for hands-on activities are thorough, and the book gives comprehensive information about a huge range of topics. There is something here to interest just about everyone. In addition, the author focuses on a good mix of traditional and less well-known activities. For example, the athletics section describes sports like softball, but also some unique games like disc bowling, and beanbag toss, and even some games that wouldn’t typically be considered sports like tongue twisters and card games. The book also includes good checklists that can be used to prepare for various activities like camping or cooking, and a helpful list of books for further reading.

Unfortunately this book has a major weakness in its lack of illustrations where they are really needed to provide clarity. Alexis Seabrook’s artwork is primarily decorative, and while it adds to the book aesthetically, it will not help readers understand the complex instructions given for some tasks, or to identify the plants and birds described. Readers really need diagrams if they are to learn how to build a bench, make different types of paper airplanes, how to tie a variety of knots, or how to complete the numerous other hands-on projects described in this book. Most young readers are unlikely to master these tasks through written descriptions alone and will probably abandon the book in favor of material with diagrams or perhaps a video that provides the same instruction. In addition, Fieri occasionally uses terms a young reader would be unlikely to know, which could provide further frustration. The title of the book is also misleading, and some readers who might be interested in the diverse topics included might never even pick up the book, believing it to be only about forts.

It is unfortunate that a book with such a strong premise, empowerment of girls through learning a wide range of do-it-yourself activities, is weakened so much by its lack of appropriate illustrations. Were the book to include diagrams or even photographs for the hands-on activities and the sections where plants and animals are identified, it would be a very useful book. In its current form, though, I don’t believe many young readers will find it helpful. They will likely need to seek additional information in order to be successful at most of the activities the book includes, and young people who are dedicated enough to an activity to take that step are likely to find their own information about the activity without this book. Collections looking for this type of book would be better served by best-sellers such as The Daring Book for Girls and The Dangerous Book for Boys. However, one can certainly argue that in the 21st Century, books which separate knowledge for young people by gender are not needed. In any case, The Girl’s Guide to Building a Fort is one to pass on.


The Girl’s Guide to Building a Fort
By Jenny Fieri
Art by Alexis Seabrook
Andrews McNeel Publishing, 2021
ISBN: 978-1524861179
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12

NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11)

Doggo and Pupper

Doggo and Pupper is the first book in what will certainly become a popular new early reader chapter book series. Acclaimed novelist Katherine Applegate, famous primarily for fantasy and animal characters featured in books like The One and Only Ivan, the Endling trilogy, and the Animorphs series, makes a successful debut into early reader fiction with Doggo and Pupper. The volume features seven short chapters of simple prose text, with each page fully illustrated. Charlie Adler’s illustrations perfectly complement the story, adding detail and whimsy that make this book a delightful offering for young readers.

Doggo is the trusty family dog who finds his mundane and predictable life quite satisfactory, if a little boring. His family starts to think he might need a little more excitement, though, and they think bringing home a new puppy, Pupper, is just the thing. Doggo soon grows frustrated with Pupper, who is silly, messy, and untrained. Doggo’s ever-present companion Cat reminds Doggo that he used to be a little more carefree himself, but he doesn’t seem to recall those days. After the family sends Pupper to charm school, the younger dog’s behavior changes drastically. He seems like a perfect pup. But has he changed too much? Maybe Doggo needs to show him how to have fun again while reminding himself at the same time. 

Charlie Alder’s artwork is winsome and expressive. His illustrations illuminate Doggo’s daily activities in a humorous fashion showing us all the adventures even an older dog might have when his humans aren’t around, e.g. baking, dancing, toilet drinking. Each character is portrayed with a clear personality: Doggo, relaxed and settled; Pupper, fresh and energetic; Cat, the voice of reason. The images are cartoonish and warm, and the emphasis is clearly on the pets rather than their owners. While we see the people, it’s never their faces, but rather their legs and torsos that are featured. The animals also walk upright and use human mannerisms. Their postures and expressions are entertaining and give the book a very whimsical quality.

Young readers will really enjoy Doggo and Pupper and will look forward to more books in the series. The chapter divisions are well-placed, with clear titles, making the book accessible for young readers. The heartwarming story and humorous illustrations combine to create a winning product. This is surely the start of a lasting collaboration for Applegate and Alder, and readers will be clamoring for more adventures from Cat, Doggo, and Pupper. This series is a great investment for all youth and elementary school libraries.


Doggo and Pupper
By Katherine Applegate
Art by Charlie Alder
Feiwel and Friends, 2021
ISBN: 9781250620972
Publisher Age Rating: 5-7

NFNT Age Recommendation: Easy Readers (5-9)

Asterix Omnibus, vol 1/Asterix: the Chieftain’s Daughter

It’s hard to believe, but Asterix is turning 60 years old. He’s back, in a newly translated American English collection featuring the first three classic novels in the series. This globally popular French series has sold close to 380 million copies, and has been translated into 111 languages and dialects. The latest edition, #38 The Chieftain’s Daughter does not disappoint. You can expect the same clever wordplay, quirky characters and, of course, plenty of satire.

In the Asterix Omnibus series by Rene Goscinny, and Albert Uderzo, Volume One contains the first three stories in the series: Asterix the Gaul, Asterix and the Golden Sickle, and Asterix and the Goths.

In Asterix the Gaul, Getafix is captured after a Roman soldier sneaks into their village to figure out how these Gauls have invincibility. It’s up to Asterix to use his strength and wit to save Getafix. Getafix’s golden sickle has broken in Asterix and the Golden Sickle. This leaves Asterix and Obelix no choice but to venture to the city Lutetia, where they need to find Metallurgix, the sicklesmith, and the trouble and absurdity begins. Asterix and the Goths features Obelix and Asterix helping Getafix get to the druids’ annual conference. What they don’t know is that the Goths are there waiting to kidnap him. The silliness begins as they must put their heads together to get him back safely.

The latest edition to the Asterix series is The Chieftain’s Daughter by Jean-Yves Ferri, and Didier Conrad.
Adrenaline, the daughter of the Gaulish chieftain is on the run from the Romans. Luckily, she stumbles upon Asterix’s village, which happens to be the only place that can guarantee her safety. But, for how long?

Asterix comics have that classic cartoon style, which you would expect from the 1950s-60s comic era. There are many highly detailed images with a lot of activity happening in each panel. Careful time was spent adding in characters and animals that work to heighten the drama as it is unfolding. Buildings, nature, and scenery are accurate to the time and setting of these stories, thus providing a bit of a history lesson for children as they observe the tools, clothing styles, and structures. In The Chieftain’s Daughter, Conrad does a seamless job of staying true to the original illustrator’s drawing style. It’s remarkable work, especially when you consider how challenging it must be to learn how to copy all the characters and elements of another artist and re-create them just as the original illustrator would have created them.

These titles feature fun stories that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. However, much of the satire would likely be lost on younger audiences. The recommended age range for this series is from 7-12 years old, but is unlikely that American children would know enough about the history of Gaul, the Romans and World War II to truly understand the satire. That’s not to say that they couldn’t be enjoyed by younger children, but this series would be best read with someone older who could explain some of the happenings. Additionally, children would need to have a fairly comprehensive vocabulary as these books are packed with abstract writing. “Intransigent”, “gesocribate” and “menhir sculptors” are a few of the rather complicated words that are sprinkled throughout. Much of the humor is in the language carefully selected and invented specifically for the characters, such as, Dirtipolotix, Vitalstatistix, and, Getafix. Wonderful for adults, but without the help of an adult, it can be difficult for younger kids to independently understand.

Overall, Asterix is a classic series that is sure to provide laughs, nostalgia for those who read these comics as children, and adventure. These new translations are well-done and make the text more accessible to American audiences. If you like Asterix, these are worth-while additions to your home or library collection.

Asterix Omnibus, Vol 1
By René Goscinny
Art by Albert Uderzo
ISBN: 9781545805664

Asterix: the Chieftain’s Daughter
By Jean-Yves Ferri
Art by Didier Conrad
ISBN: 9781545805695

Papercutz, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: 7-12
Series Reading Order: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterix (Wikipedia or Goodreads)

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NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11), Tween (10-13), Teen (13-16), Older Teen (16-18), Adult (18+)

Lumberjanes BEASTiary

The Lumberjanes have put together a guidebook on the most amazing creatures you’ve ever heard of and a few you haven’t.

This hilarious collection of magical beings is sorted into six categories. Each has been written by a different scout, giving each section their own unique flair that Lumberjanes fans will love. The scouts are working together to earn the BEAST or Best Everything Amazing Study Trophy for recording the supernatural creatures they’ve encountered. It’s the biggest achievement in Lumber-know-how that can be achieved, so the stakes are high but the girls are up to the challenge.

The scouts have run into many different creatures at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. From outer space to under the sea we have details of these beings documented in just as many different styles as you can think of. Interviews, lists, stickers, badges, side bars, recipes, photos, facts and let’s call them fictional facts. This wide variety keeps readers engaged.

This book is so artistically and beautifully put together that it feels like a collector’s piece for anyone’s Lumberjanes’ library. The cover artwork is styled like a diary, as this is a BEASTiary, after all. It has fun googly eyes, embossing, stickers, sticky notes and washi tape bringing together the multicolored text. Inside the brightly colored pages are decorated in scrapbook style with post-it notes, cue cards, unique fonts, fun borders, paper clips, photos and all kinds of little doo-dads.

Mariko Tamaki guest authors several Lumberjanes books, but she is best known as the award winning Canadian co-author of the graphic novel This One Summer. Her writing style does not disappoint here and she works wonderfully with artist Brooklyn Allen. Allen is the original illustrator for this series and co creator so you can expect the same quality in this book as you do in the rest of the series.

Fans of the Lumberjanes series will love giggling and flipping through the pages of this companion novel. Readers get the opportunity to learn more about their favourite scout in their mini biographies which include fun facts like their favorite song, a quick quote and of course, a fun photo.

Additionally, this series always does an outstanding job of creating characters that are truly role models for children reading these books, well, except maybe Ripley who would encourage anyone to take home a whole litter of kittens given the chance. However the love of reading shines through as something that is to be not only proud of, but something that is cool to do. This is a great message for kids to hear. Reading competency is such an important life skill and this series makes it fun to achieve. I highly recommend adding this book to your collection.

Lumberjanes BEASTiary
By Mariko Tamaki
Art by Brooklyn Allen
ISBN: 9781419736445
Amulet Books, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: 9-12

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NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11), Tween (10-13)

Bear

Get ready to let your child’s imagination run wild in the colorful wilderness that fills the pages of this fantastic and touching story. Author Ben Queen (writer for Cars 2 and co-writer for Cars 3) does an amazing job of captivating readers with this creatively written adventure about friendship and overcoming challenges.

Meet Bear, a guide dog that is perfectly matched with his owner, Patrick. Patrick is completely blind and loves having Bear around to help him get through his day much faster than he could with a cane, and definitely much more enjoyably. However, things take a turn when Bear suddenly loses his vision and with that he loses his sense of worth. He fears that Patrick won’t want him anymore if he can’t be a useful guide dog to him. So he sets out on an adventure with the help of racoons living under their house to find a magical cure in the forest. Unfortunately, Bear soon discovers that racoons can’t be trusted and finds himself very lost. The story flips back and forth between Patrick trying to find Bear and Bear making friends and foes as he tries to find his way back home. Bear learns a lot about himself and that he’s capable of more than he ever thought possible through the challenges of trying to navigate an unknown world. He masters using his sense of smell, something he never knew he was good at doing because he’d never tried it to its full potential. This heartwarming story is a wonderful blend of fun fantasy and tough reality.

Illustrator Joe Todd-Stanton fills this book with whimsical details that children will love spotting as they follow along with the characters. It took me a second time reading through to fully appreciate just how many whimsical elements are floating around. This adds a lot of amusement and depth to the reading experience. Additionally, the dramatic use of lighting gives the reader a bigger sense of the character’s emotions. In the darker scenes where Bear is lost, alone and scared we have a single spotlight illuminating him, highlighting just how alone he is. When Bear is losing his vision we see the panels become more and more smudged with blackness until everything is gone. Todd-Stanton is a master of evoking emotion in his artwork, yet he manages to keep it all in a simple cartoon style that all kids will love.

Ben Queen did a lot of research to accurately portray what it would be like to suddenly lose your vision and what you could do to cope with it. Including an interview with visual artist John Bramblitt who described losing your sight as, “We think our eyes are where our sight comes from, but the eyes are just sending chemical and electrical responses back and it’s the brain that is actually making the images. So, whenever you lose your eyesight, your brain is still sort of like in dream mode, it’s still putting up images.” You can see how influential Bramblitt’s words were as you experience Bear’s mind adjusting to relying on memories and other senses to understand the world.

A wonderful children’s story. The publisher recommends it for ages five through eight, but I absolutely think that middle school aged children would get just as much enjoyment from it. I highly recommend adding this book to your collection.

Bear
By Ben Queen
Art by Joe Todd-Stanton
ISBN: 9781684155316
Archaia, an imprint of BOOM! Studios, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: 5-8

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NFNT Age Recommendation: Easy Readers (5-9), Middle Grade (7-11)

Lumberjanes: Campfire Songs

Lumberjanes: Campfire Songs is a quick and fun collection of six short stories. They live up to any Lumberjanes fan’s expectations for witty tales of friendship with a good dose of fantasy mixed into each. Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley return in this interesting compilation of distinctive art and writing styles about making true connections with others, whether they be supernatural beings or regular old human beings.

The first narrative has all the girls planning a masquerade dance while simultaneously the forest faeries are planning a party of their own. Next we have a short and sweet underwater adventure with their racoon, Bubbles. Then the girls get stuck inside during a horrible rainstorm, dying of boredom when a litter of adorable green kittens appears! In “Weather Woes”, the girls have to help fix the eYeti’s generator as panic is setting in. Liz Prince’s “Some En-Haunted Evening” gives readers a funny murder mystery story, complete with ghosts. Lastly, we have a sepia-colored short story about scary bears that turn out to be more familiar than the girls initially realize.

Our Roanoke scouts are featured in different art styles in each comic. Six artists created the wonderful panels: Maddi Gonzalez, Brittney Williams, Alexa Bosy, Mari Costa, Kat Leyh and Brooklyn Allen. Each one of these talented individuals makes sure that they stay true to the original design of the series, yet you can see each one’s personal flair in the images. You can see artistic themes through the stories, like all the greens used in the story “Somewhere That’s Green” or the sepia tones used in “A Memory”. This grabs the reader’s attention as it’s clear that there’s a unique tone being set. Lumberjanes fans will love the comic gallery section at the end, which are masterpieces of detail representing not only the stories but the emotions evoked.

An amazing group of creators have come together to contribute to all of these stories, and they are easy to read one after the other. Expect the same type of humorous writing with good morals secretly woven into the stories as you would with any other volume in this series. The introduction and concluding paragraphs are beautifully written about having a realistic lifelong perspective on friendships. Some friends are for life, some aren’t, and some you meet later on, and that’s all perfectly okay! This is a great lesson to learn as young as possible.

Overall, this collection is well written and well put together. And another benefit of adding it to a library collection is that it stands alone, outside of the continuity of the main narrative. The title doesn’t add anything to the complexity of the characters developing or to their relationships with one another in the main narrative. Therefore, this is a great recommendation for both those newer to the series and to devoted fans who are waiting for the next Lumberjanes book to become available. I highly recommend diving into the fun at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types!

Lumberjanes: Campfire Songs
By Nicole Andelfinger, Brittney Williams, Seanan McGuire, Mari Costa, Liz Prince, Shannon Watters
Art by Maddi Gonzalez, Brittney Williams, Alexa Bosy, Mari Costa, Kat Leyh, Brooklyn Allen
ISBN: 9781684155675
BOOM! Box, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: 9-12
Series Reading Order: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lumberjanes (Wikipedia or Goodreads)

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NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11), Tween (10-13)
Character Traits: Black, Multiracial,

Attack of the Stuff: The Life and Times of Bill Waddler

Meet Bill Waddler, a duck who has the ability to hear everyday objects speak to him. This sounds as if it would be amazing to experience, only we quickly discover that it’s not as fantastic as you would think it’d be. Everything has an opinion, making it difficult for Bill to even use the toilet!

Attack of the Stuff is the first book in a new series by New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Jim Benton. Bill starts us off on his adventure with a stressful dream about farting snakes coiling everywhere on and around him. He’s going through a period of self reflection as he thinks about childhood dreams of becoming a famous musician and questions why his current job of selling hay doesn’t seem to be as successful as it used to be. He’s frustrated and feels like he is falling behind the rest of the world as technology advances without him, yet he doesn’t want to change his ways.

Bill’s ability to hear every object, animal, and appliance around him just adds to this stress. Nothing around him is happy. All the objects are continuously complaining and putting him down, from the jelly jar, to the lamp, to his toilet. Here’s where we see lots of classic fart jokes that will make kids giggle. Done with all the insults and certainly done with all the farting, Bill gets the idea to leave it all behind and try out living in nature. However, as he wrestles for survival out in the woods, simultaneously, disaster strikes civilization. Bill will have to help fix it by using his unique power, but this time with a purpose. Here’s where the story brings together educational themes such as sexism, working together to solve difficult problems, and the importance of friendship.

Middle school children will love this story and be asking for the next title in the series. The dialogue is easy to understand, but packed with silliness that will have any child laughing. Benton’s simple style color illustrations make it effortless to follow along with the panels in order. There aren’t many panels per page and the dialogue or thought bubbles are kept to a minimum. This makes it easy for any beginner to know where to read next without having to think about where their eyes should go. This combined with short chapters make it a great pick for reluctant readers as they will not easily get lost or confused and can celebrate the success of finishing entire chapters quickly.

If you are looking to add a middle school friendly graphic novel that is both humorous and smart, I highly recommend checking out this one.

Attack of the Stuff: The Life and Times of Bill Waddler 1
By Jim Benton
ISBN: 9781545804995
Papercutz, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: 7-12

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NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11)

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide

Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide is famous for her haunting black and white photos. Isabel Quintero and Zeke Pena have created an enthralling graphic novel in which Iturbide’s story and photographs are brought to life for a generation who may be entirely unfamiliar with their groundbreaking work. Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide is an important graphic novel for the current culture. Mexican stories need to be told. Graphic novels like this are a reminder that the history and culture of Mexican art and artists is vast and rich. This graphic novel may be a few years old but its review is crucial.

The story opens at an art gallery with photographs on display. A group of young people ask the photographer about their style and methods. That photographer is Graciela Iturbide. She explains her methods and motives to the young attendees while the story fades into the past. The story moves through time—back and forth—from the Sonoran Desert and Mexico City to India and Frida Kahlo’s bedroom. It covers her most famous photographs as well as her childhood and relationship with her father. Graciela appears to explain in her own words what was going on at the time, the inspirations for the photographs, and her own thought process.

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide is uniquely illustrated. The artist painstakingly recreates Graciela’s history and photographs through similar yet powerful black and white illustrations. The actual photographs accompany the illustrated versions. It’s refreshing to see artwork and photography depicted in this way, particularly in a graphic memoir. It is one thing to see an illustrated version of a piece of art, but to see it held up against the real thing is entirely different and adds great depth to the story. The attention to detail is astounding and the artist made the right decision to keep color out of the book. Graciela’s medium was black-and-white and her biography should be the same.

The writing itself feels a bit stilted and that may be entirely based on the translation. It’s hard to feel a rhythm while reading. The author includes an interesting use of a second person point of view. The author addresses the reader in short snippets of text before each chapter break. These breaks in the fourth wall are a way to introduce the reader to where the story will take place next. It’s helpful in a way, but also a bit distracting. Graciela’s descriptions are poetic and imaginative while these breaks feel unnecessary. Graciela is more than capable of telling her own story in her own way. Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide is a fascinating look into the life of a prolific and iconic Mexican photographer. Their work resides in many museums around the world. This graphic novel cannot tell Graciela’s story in its entirety, but it does a great job of introducing readers of all ages to her life and her work.

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide is appropriate for readers 13+. It is enjoyable to readers of Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam, Pénélope Bagieu’s Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World, and Liana Finck’s Passing for Human.

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide
By Isabel Quintero
Art by Zeke Pena
ISBN: 9781947440005
Getty Publications, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: T

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Character Traits: Latinx

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Picture Book

Humanity and the planet have been devastated by a war that left behind a toxic jungle teeming with enormous insects and other frightening creatures. Those who managed to survive the war—which now is far in the past—have settled in small cities and kingdoms scattered throughout the remaining habitable land. It is in this setting that Nausicaa, the daughter of the king of her homeland, the Valley of the Wind, discovers the secrets of the toxic jungle and struggles to bring peace and safety to her people.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Picture Book is, essentially, a picture book adaptation of the popular animated movie of the same name. The movie itself is an adaptation of Hayao Miyazaki’s original manga that began in 1982. Having experienced all three, I would describe each adaptation as a simplification of the story it takes from: the manga is far more detailed and tells a longer story than the movie, while the picture book tells essentially the same story as the movie, but in a shorter form and lacking some of the elements that brought the movie to life, such as the acting and music.

As with the original story, the content is timely and relevant, with strong themes of environmentalism and a post-apocalyptic future based on the destruction of the planet. Despite this potentially depressing subject matter, the tone is characteristic of Miyazaki: hopeful, positive, respectful of nature, and accessible to children. The book includes some scary moments and the deaths of some characters, but is never graphic or overly frightening.

This picture book is not bad, but also doesn’t offer anything particularly new or innovative, and likely has limited appeal. The story is told in prose with one or two illustrations per page. It doesn’t stray from the story told in the movie, and the illustrations look like they could be screenshots taken directly from the film (I’m not sure if they actually are or not). The book simply offers an alternate way of telling or experiencing the same content, though due to the nature of short picture books, the pacing seems a little quicker. It may be an interesting way to share Nausicaa with a younger child, or someone who cannot watch the movie for whatever reason, and the book may serve as a fun collectible for dedicated fans.

In short, there is a lot that’s good about Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Picture Book (story, art, characters, etc.), but most of it already existed, and this new format doesn’t bring very much to the table. With a list price of $30, it may be a nice gift for a big Miyazaki fan, but isn’t an essential purchase for libraries or schools.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Picture Book
By Hayako Miyazaki
ISBN: 9781974705610
VIZ Media, 2019
Publisher Age Rating: 9-12

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Related to…: Movie to Comic, Retelling

I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing: Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture

I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing—a phrase uttered by Darth Vader in A New Hope and the title of A.D. Jameson’s new book. Here, Jameson details the rise and popularization of geek culture through main-stream cinema by examining science fiction, fantasy, and superhero movies and TV shows.

I was expecting far more about Star Wars in this book subtitled, Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture. Unfortunately, Jameson’s book seems to be a rant in opposition to Peter Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And Rock ‘N Roll Generation Saved Hollywood. While I found Jameson’s analysis of film history and criticism interesting, the asides that continually called out Biskind quickly grew tiresome. Oddly, large swathes of the book address the various versions of Star Trek (TV and film), that Jameson watched as a kid, and he spends a good bit of time explaining his personal experiences and love affair with this show.

Despite the oddities mentioned above, this book did have a few redeeming moments. Among his more interesting points, Jameson discusses realism and its importance in relation to the fantasy and science fiction genres. In addition, he has quite a compelling chapter dealing with the subject of escapism, a term that plagues many a self-proclaimed geek (and other lovers of fantasy and science fiction).

I wanted to love this book a great deal more than I did in actuality. It does have moments worth reading, particularly the sections discussing film history, realism, and escapism. For me, however, this book misses the mark. It is neither the triumph of geek culture I was expecting, nor was it about Star Wars, which, frankly, was incredibly disappointing considering that is what drew me to the book in the first place. This is definitely a case where a determination to have a clever title has led to confusion and irritation on the part of the reader.

While I did not personally love this book, I do think it makes a decent contribution to literature about geek culture in general and TV and film history in particular. It would make a good addition to any library’s non-fiction shelves. Though the publisher does not indicate an age category, I think this is most suitable for older teens and adults given the non-fiction nature of the work as well as its references to TV and film more suitable for these age groups.

I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing: Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture
By A.D. Jameson
ISBN: 9780374537364
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018