I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Friends Is Friends by Greg Cook
Illustrator: Greg Cook
Published by First Second on August 16th 2016
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Literary
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Friends Is Friends tells the story of complicated friendships through a series of funny, bittersweet vignettes. Greg Cook's deceptively sweet storybook world is imbued with grown-up humor that is both dark and whimsical. The result is a fable for adults, where the only clear moral is this: friendship isn't easy, whether you're a hobo or a snowman or a ghost.
Friends Is Friends is indie-favorite Greg Cook's first major work in over a decade. This long-awaited tragicomedy is a great stand-alone work for both new and established graphic novel readers.
Why Did I Read Friends Is Friends by Greg Cook?
I essentially wanted to read Friends Is Friends by Greg Cook based upon the book cover. I am nothing if not shallow. I loved the fine detail and texture of the elephant and his outfit on the cover. I think that the cover is very eye catching and it does promise a darker sort of story. I also tend to really like books about friendship and this seemed like a great book to pick up after finishing The Notorious RBG. Alas, I merely thought Friends Is Friends was merely okay and not a book I am likely to attempt to force on everyone.
What’s The Story In Friends Is Friends?
Friends Is Friends is about a hobo elephant who happens to be an alcoholic and becomes friends with a pig kid. There’s also a teddy bear that is real and a ghost imposter. There’s another female pig kid. And then there’s the mother pig. There’s different vignettes that sort of connect in that the characters all interact with and seem to know each other. I wouldn’t say that there’s an overarching story or anything. But there is a theme of complicated and messy friendship where it isn’t all sunshine and flowers and happiness, but lots of disagreements and even a bit of unhealthy toxic friendships — especially between the teddy bear and one of the piglets.
How Did I Like Friends Is Friends?
I thought Friends Is Friends was merely okay. I’ll grant it made me feel some vague discomfort. Here’s the thing, I currently oversee a program that works with mentally ill people who may or may not be homeless. I am very sensitive to portrayals of people in poverty. Granted, yes the main character was an elephant and not a human being. Still, it just bothers me a little bit to see such a blatant stereotype of a homeless person and to see it feed into a hobo image. I didn’t find this very progressive or groundbreaking, but rather to retread images we’ve seen of the homeless over and over and over again. I don’t know, I guess I felt like this book really liked some heart. Maybe it just went right over my head and I couldn’t see the forest for the trees – given my feelings about how homelessness is depicted.
How’s The Art?
So, the one thing that redeems Friends Is Friends for me is the art. I thought this book was very well illustrated. It makes use of black and white illustrations. I thought that the shading and the shapes were perfectly appropriate for the themes of the book. I thought that the divider pages between chapters were really great — they’re all black with white for the lines. I think if you’re simply focusing on the art — this is rather excellent.
Who Should Read Friends Is Friends?
- People who aren’t quite as sensitive to portrayals of poverty
- People who love art above all
- People who like books that are complicated and who are perhaps a lot smarter than I am
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