Rating: ☕️ ☕️ ☕️ ☕️ 1/2
This graphic novel was absolutely stunning! I feel like I need an entire novel to rave about the gorgeous and intricate illustrations. There are NO WORDS to describe how striking Thompson’s illustrations are. Seriously, if there is a copy close by, or if you’re in a bookstore that has this book in stock, pick it up and just flip through it. Believe me the beauty will overwhelm you. Based on illustrations alone, this novel is a full 5 stars, no questions asked. The script of the Arabic, the designs in the borders, everything is just perfect.
The story of Dodala, Zam, and the hardships they face in their lives is nothing short of heart wrenching. When following their early lives in the desert, the desperation of their circumstances, and how they took care of each other was very captivating to read. My heart broke for Dodala and her need to use her body to take care of her and Zam. I know this is a reality in so many parts of the world, but it was so shocking and powerful to see it drawn on the page in front of you. The inserts of the stories that Dodala told Zam were a beautiful addition, and they were beautifully drawn and interesting to read. You can really see how the stories are an escape for both Dodala and Zam and how important stories can be in a person’s life.
Moving on to the time in the palace, I think this is where the book lost the half star from me, and I think it’s purely because I am such a big baby 😝 The Sultan and his harem just didn’t sit well with me and just seeing women used as objects, abused, and thrown away bothered me too much. Like I said before, I know this is reality, but it was hard for me to read. I loved the end of the novel, although there were some elements that upset me. Well, maybe not upset, but more like disappointed. I loved the explanation of the title that is in the last few pages and the promise and hope we find at the end of Dodala and Zam’s story.
Overall, this was one of the most, if not THE most, powerful graphic novel I have ever read. Craig Thompson is truly talented, not only in his artwork, but in his storytelling. He has definitely earned his place on my shelf and Habibi has definitely earned a place among my favourite books.
To visit Craig Thompson on his blog click here –> http://www.craigthompsonbooks.com/