CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 41 . . . . June 22, 2018
Ben Rankel. Letters by Ryan Ferrier.
Canmore, AB: Renegade Arts Entertainment, 2018.
112 pp., hardcover, $25.00.
Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
Review by Sarah Wethered.
*** / 4
"At the school they took us all too. They'd only talk to us in English. Expected a reply in the same, or else. I have never even heard English before. Eventually I just forgot our language. Learned how to make pancakes though. They made me cook for the nuns. My chore. God help me if I burned them. That's why I came to Frank. Couldn't figure out how to go home. Lucky you had a room."
"You were lucky my brother just left. Every three months like clockwork he shows up. Checking up on me. I left to get away from them."
"Oscar though, he made me feel at home. That's why we came here; to build a life together. Have you seen him lately? I wish he'd just talk with me. Help me understand why. Maybe then I'd feel better about everything?"
"Look, there's a meeting this morning. All the foremen should be there. Oscar too. You can come with me."
"I hate pancakes."
Frank is a graphic novel that takes place in Frank, Alberta, in the week leading up to the Frank slide in April 1903. Newly arrived Eva Lee is on a destructive path as she is depressed that her lover, Oscar, has left her for another woman and is now missing. To cope with this news, Eva has turned to drinking. When she finally pulls herself out of the downward spiral she is on, she races to find out what happened to Oscar.
Readers of Frank will be drawn into the compelling mystery of the graphic novel and the race to solve it before the evidence is destroyed by the historic Frank slide. Of course, the characters in the story do not know what is about to happen, and this adds to the suspense felt by the reader.
I recommend Frank to readers who enjoy historical graphic novels or mystery novels. The artwork is beautifully drawn and is as historically accurate as possible. Further, female readers will enjoy seeing a female protagonist in the overwhelmingly male dominated historical graphic novel genre. Lastly, the short nature of the book, as well as not being text rich, will encourage reluctant readers to learn more about history.
Sarah Wethered, who has been a teacher-librarian at New Westminster Secondary School for 18 years, currently lives in New Westminster, BC.
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