Technically, Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights is a sequel to Cake Shop in the Garden but it stands quite well on its own. I actually only realised that it’s a sequel due to the summarised info dump during the first couple of chapters — think throwback highlight reel at the start of new seasons of TV shows. Once that’s done and dusted, it’s back to regular writing and storytelling.
Good satire makes you laugh while simultaneously reflecting on the subject matters. Rooted in reality, it makes you wonder how serious these characters are (very) but then on second thought you realise that they’re world views are so black and white, they couldn’t be for real. With that in mind, Borowitz used satire very effectively in Family and Other Catastrophes. Emily was so neurotic but with the kind of mother she had, it kind of made sense. Her sister Lauren, was fully committed to feminist social activism, in stark contrast to their brother, Jason, who was a desperate divorcé and quite the sexist.
After Why?, I’m certain the most popular question is, What if? Second-guessing our choices is human nature. Maybe in Another Life taps precisely on this. What if Hannah chooses to do one thing? What is she goes with the alternative instead? Maybe in Another Life presents two options and how they could possibly turn out differently. These alternative outcomes are told though concurrent storylines.
Flip open This One Summer and you’ll be greeted by beautiful graphics. They’re art pieces in and of themselves. The illustrations are set in monotone though rather than black ink, dark blue has been chosen. This adds softness to the images fitting for the contemporary summer setting of this graphic novel. I could stare at the pages over and over again, allowing my eyes to feast upon the beauty. Sadly, that’s all that my two stars are for.