Six Impossible Things

A Blog About Fiction and Reading

La Perdida

PerdidaLa Perdida by Jessica Abel


I don’t know what caught my attention about this graphic novel, but catch my attention it did. It came through the library, and the cover caught my eye enough to get me to start flipping through it, and before I knew it, the bookdrop was being neglected, and I was about a quarter of the way through the story. So, yes, I was hooked.

Abel’s name didn’t ring a bell with me, but she’s a well-respected artist, enough so that Scott “Understanding Comics” McCloud wrote a blurb for the back of the book. La Perdida is the story of Carla, an expatriate from the US whose father was from Mexico, so she goes to Mexico to discover her culture and her roots. She hooks up with an old boyfriend, who introduces her to some other expatriates, who in turn connect her to some revolutionaries. Carla wants to become the real thing in Mexico, and not be just another tourist, so she slowly alienates herself from the expatriates and starts to gravitate toward the revolutionaries. Of course, this doesn’t mean that she necessarily believes in the same things as the revolutionarie; she’s just more interested in fitting in.

The story grows complicated from there, but never becomes too hard to follow.  You might find yourself wanting to yell at Carla, in much the same way you might want to yell at the people on screen in a horror movie.  “Don’t go in there!”, and all that nonsense.  Carla makes some bad decisions throughout the story, and it gets harder and harder to sympathize with her, because she keeps putting herself into these situations.  The only saving grace is that she’s young, and wants to fit in, and we’ve all been in that situation in our lives.  The intrigue and deception helps to add to an already compelling story, but it didn’t resonate with me like I was hoping it would.  It just seemed to be missing something, but I couldn’t tell you what that is.

If nothing else, this is a good example of a mainstream graphic novel, and it shows how standard storytelling benefits from the graphic format.  If you know people who are resistant to accepting the graphic storytelling format, recommend La Perdida to them; it just might win them over through its traditional story.

(And if that doesn’t work, show them A History of Violence.)


January 29, 2007 - Posted by | Graphic Novels, Reviews

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