33 Following

Pants' Books & Stuff!

Hi there! I imagine you must be wondering what the heck is up with my blog name. The short answer is, Pants has become my internet handle in a lot of places where I hang out (somehow). I mainly read YA and comics, and I also frequently read speculative fiction of pretty much any kind. My other hobbies include watching anime and playing video games. Other random tidbits: I have a Bachelor's degree in English Literature and a Masters in Library and Information Sciences. I also have an affinity for tea.
Peanut - Ayun Halliday, Paul Hoppe I'm leaning more towards a 1.5 because this work is largely inoffensive, but I still found it so uninspiring that I can't bring myself to bump it up to 2 stars.

But before I get into that, I think I should explain something a little more personal first: I suffer from food allergies (including peanuts.) A LOT of them. Thankfully, none of them are airborne (meaning I can smell things I'm allergic to and be okay -- I just can't eat them), and while some of them are SEVERE, they're not DEADLY like they are for most people. For those who are curious, here's a list of all the shit I'm allergic to: anything and everything peanuts, anything that lives underwater (some people are allergic to only shellfish, or fresh/saltwater fish, but I'm allergic to all of them), some tree fruit (I say "some" because I can eat things with thick rinds, like citrus, for some reason), and some milk products (this is one that baffles me -- I can eat MOST milk products, but things like 2% milk [I can drink skim] and cheddar cheese just do not sit with me; and I don't mean I'm lactose-intolerant btw -- my throat closes up when I eat those things). And here's the thing: no one gives a shit if you have allergies. Yes, they're *concerned* and it's something they'll hopefully keep in mind, especially if it's life-threatening, but no one's like "ommggggg an ALLERGY!! Wow that's so interesting!!" Especially peanut allergies; they're incredibly common.

The reason I mention this is because I was leery of the premise of this book from the start. Having lived with a peanut allergy all my life, it all sounded outlandish and ridiculous. And it was. It was also really hard to like Sadie when she has no personality outside of her lying ways. I don't mean to say that I disliked Sadie because she lied about something (we've all done that), but because Halliday didn't characterize her outside of being a liar, outside of giving her a little snark (which admittedly, did breathe a little life into her.) Her motivations for lying are never explored, which I think could have made for a much interesting story. Thankfully, the secondary characters DO have personality, so that was nice, and I appreciated the candid dialog between Sadie and her friends. Halliday skimmed over other issues though, such as why Cheryl started giving Sadie the cold shoulder. Was she trying to demonstrate that people just drift apart? If that's the case, it wasn't conveyed very effectively.

I also found a disconnect between the tone of the work versus the content. As a whole, the comic's tone feels Middle Grade (despite being set in high school), but then Halliday would through in things that are decidedly NOT MG, such as jokes about faking orgasm, or have Sadie give the middle finger. I have no objections to this kind of content, but it felt incongruous with the rest of the work. I think this was partly due to the art style, which brings me to my next point..

I hated the art. Hated it. The line art looks like a rough free-hand style and it just looks bad. The faces are oddly proportioned and are equally uninspiring. Sadie is always wearing an item of clothing that's coloured some peachy/pink colour, but it felt gimmicky and largely pointless. I guess it was some kind of metaphor for her desire to stand out? Either way, a burst of colour doesn't detract from how bad the art is as a whole.

Overall, I would have a very hard time recommending this to anybody. I don't know how much my personal history with allergies has to do with it, but I couldn't wrap my head around the plot, I found the characterization largely lacking, and the art often made me cringe. For graphic novels that deal with high school life, I much prefer Faith Erin Hicks's Friends With Boys or Vera Brogsol's Anya's Ghost (very different content, but similar in themes and setting.)