Reads: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

10:59 AM

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Comic books! A book about comics, love, and WWII. 

The novel begins in 1939, with 19 year old Josef "Joe" Kavalier, a Jewish refugee in New York City. He has come to live with his cousin Sammy Klayman, in hopes to make enough money to buy passage for the rest of his family to join him in the United States. Sammy has been hoarding an idea for a comic book for ages, and once he sees Joe's artwork, he gets enough confidence to present his idea to his boss at Empire Novelty, a novelty company. Their hero is The Escapist, on account of Joe having been trained as an escape artist in his youth. 

The comic is a hit. However, life is not easy for Sammy and Joe. Joe struggles daily with becoming an American, while still trying to get his family over safely. Sammy struggles with adulthood, dealing with a controversial love interest, and not knowing how to handle the success of the comic, other than throwing himself into more work. And as the years go by, America changes, the comics change, and the cousins change. 

Despite this vague description (not trying to spoil anything here), this book lives up to its title. I have never been overly fond of war books, they tend to be heart-wrenching, but this book takes on a whole new perspective. The reader gets a taste of not just the solders during the war, but of the struggles of the refugees, and the many different feelings and opinions of Americans during the war. We get to see Sammy and Joe fight Germany through controversial comic strips; the cover of the first issue shows The Escapist punching Hitler in the face. 

Although a fictional tale, this is such an interesting take on something that has been written before, with a very different perspective. It also touches on other controversial topics like sex in the media, feminism and the roles of women during that time frame, homosexuality, and racism. I honestly cannot wait for Kyle to read this because I think it will be one of the few books that we will both obsesses over. Now, go read it! 

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8 Musings

  1. Ok. Ok. HaHaHa It sounds like an enthralling book Sara! Great review.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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  2. So, I tried to read this book years ago and I couldn't finish it. I've read another book by this author, and liked it well enough, but I couldn't get through this one. Maybe I'll have to give it another shot!

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  3. What a great review! I know I've heard of it. Now you make me want to check my library for it!

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  4. So great to see your review! It looks like a wonderful book to find.

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  5. I've recently signed back into my Goodreads account and I was worried I would get overwhelmed. Reading has always been a passion of mine, but I put it behind me because of all the work that was building up around me and the whole "I have other things to do" excuse. My Goodreads account was right where I had left it, and I actually smiled when I realized there were a couple of books I had read since that time that I needed to add to the list. It made me feel a bit better about not having really read anything for so long. And I'm definitely going to give this one a read. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. This sounds so incredibly unique - I love the idea of comics being a central focus!! :)

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Talk nerdy to me.