This tale is, all at once, heartbreaking, terrifying, uncomfortable, troubling with a tiny bit of hopeful mixed in. Trigger warnings would be helpful here: racism, suicide, sexual predation, sexual bigotry, bullying, alcoholism, violence (both human and animal), parental abandonment, and smoking.
After his mother walks-out, 13-year-old Russell moves with his father clear across the country to a small town in California. The fears and uncertainties of teenage life in the 1950s come very much to life in this graphic novel where the story is told as more in the pictures than by the dialog. This is not in color, though - honestly - color might actually take away some of the drama.
Russell goes through a lot in this book. The characters... the raw side of human nature depicted in this book feels real. It feels like people I've run into (and wished I hadn't). I read this and I took several days to process it before even attempting to write this review. It feels important. It also has something to say without making it painfully obvious.
If the trigger warnings have you pulling back, I fully understand. There were certainly parts of this book that were hard for me to read. That said, I really do recommend it.
This review is for a pre-release that came from BookExpo 2018.
Home After Dark
Liveright imprint of W.W. Norton
Release: 11 September 2018
Hardcover, 416 pages