Friday, April 18, 2014

Koi Fish and a Good Book

  There is an amazing plant nursery near my house that has a koi pond in one of their greenhouses. The fish are very friendly and very large! Last time I was there, hunched over the pond taking pictures, there was a cute little boy next to me who was giggling with joy at the fish.... or should I say...giggling with joy at the koi...hahaha! He told me the name of one of the fish too, but now, much to my consternation, I forgot the name! I think it was something like Richard or maybe Bob... or maybe Stanley. The fish that had a name was the biggest in the pond and he was lurking around on the bottom all by himself. I heard there are now baby chicks at the nursery too! I gotta go for a visit, stat! 

The fish says 'Hello.' The fish says 'Goodbye.'

  Speaking of chicks, a book I finished recently was about a girl with her own brood of chickens. The book is called 'Calling Dr. Laura' by Nicole Georges. I am usually not as interested in reading nonfiction as I am in fiction. When reading fiction, I feel like anything is possible! Where as nonfiction has to stick to the rules of reality and what actually happened. But this book was a very interesting and beautiful memoir. It was a work of art that was made more powerful by being true. It was actually a graphic memoir, so it was in comic book form. 'Calling Dr. Laura' is about how one woman's visit to a psychic led her to discover something about her own past.

 The story is about Nicole, who grew up with various different father figures coming in and out of her life. Her own father, she was led to believe, died of colon cancer. The story oscillates between her current life and her life as a child. In her current life she is a animal-loving artist and musician. She lives with her girlfriend (who her mom thinks is just a roommate), her chickens and a bunch of dogs. While managing the ordeals of everyday life in Portland, she slowly unravels a family mystery! It is a visit to a mostly inaccurate psychic that acts as the catalyst toward discovering the long buried secret.
  In the segments of the book where Nicole is a child, we learn about her relationship with her mother and her stepfathers and about the different events that shaped her into the person she is.
  I love the way Georges illustrates the book. She is an amazing artist and in the grown-up sections of the book, her illustrations are more realistic and precise. In the sections telling the story of her childhood, she adopts a more cartoonish and innocent style. She relies more on line drawings and less on shading and texture. The people have rounder heads and simpler features. It is a clever way to convey the way childhood feels in our memory versus the way adulthood feels.
  Part of the reason I liked this book was because the characters really reminded me of friends I had in college. So there was a certain personal familiarity in the characters. But this is only a small part of what drew me to the characters. Georges illustrations and writing easily brought these people to life for me.
  Overall, 'Calling Dr. Laura' was a captivating book and made me question my usual aversion to memoirs. I will definitely keep my eye out for more of Georges work in the future.

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