Brooklyn Dreams, or, playing catch-up with the book reviews.

It’s been quite a while since I finished reading the graphic novel Brooklyn Dreams by J. M. Dematteis, so my memory of it is not excellent.

(I don’t normally write about graphic novels–or comic books, if you will–because I read so many of them that I don’t know how I would keep up with THAT.)

Brooklyn Dreams seems autobiographical or is written in an autobiographical mode, which is stereotypically rare for this medium (or at least the kinds of things that I’ve been reading, I suppose). Some of these autobiographical comic books are written and drawn by the same person. This book is written by DeMatteis and drawn by Glenn Barr. Which is intersting, because the language is autobiographical, but the images aren’t. Or at least they’re one remove from being autobiographical (making them biographical?).

The book is very non-linear, featuring an older “Carl Vincent Santini” reflecting on his youthful indiscretions and his extremely dysfunctional, yet loving parents. The black and white artwork is amazing and probably the thing that sticks with me the most upon looking back on it, moving easily between realistic, cartoony and surreal.

Warning: The overarching plot or story of the book is a build to a climax which many may find ultimately disappointing. (I was of two minds about it.) However, I felt that the strength of the details and anecdotes which made up the bulk of the story more than made up for the ending.


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