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Book Review < Back

Good-Bye, Chunky Rice

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Craig Thompson
Publisher: Pantheon Books

Commentary

A little turtle-guy named Chunky Rice decides that it's time to find his place in The World. Leaving his best friend behind, Chunky sets sail to find himself and learns about longing, friendship, and Siamese twins in the process. GOOD-BYE, CHUNKY RICE is one of the most auspicious debuts I've read in a long while.

It's a sweet and charming lullaby of a book, an all-ages playground of pure comics whimsy and innocent delight tinged with enough of the sad and the surreal to make it poignant while never threatening its buoyant, sing-songy lilt. In fact, it's so sweet I can't figure out why I've responded to it as much as I have. I suppose it must be Thompson's sincerity.

GOOD-BYE, CHUNKY RICE never feels cheap or pandering; it never has to club you over the head or pull at your heartstrings. Nor does GOOD-BYE, CHUNKY RICE feel as if Thompson is winking slyly to the reader in an attempt to maintain his indy cred; his cynic, ironic detachment; his ability to keep it real.

I think that's because GOOD-BYE, CHUNKY RICE is as 'real' as it gets: it's as open and as honest as any book about a turtle-boy searching for his place in the world has a right to be, and thus is something extremely rare. Thompson writes and draws with his heart on his sleeve and comics are a richer, more joyous place for it.

-- Matt Fraction

 
Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.

 


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