To those fighting their own giants,
You’re stronger than you think.
I Kill Giants is one of those book that I have heard a lot about but never seemed to encounter out in the world. Recently I made a list of graphic novels to buy and this one somehow came out of my brain and made the list. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to order a few things and the book ended up as one of the four I ordered. I wasn’t sure what to expect and what I got was something few different than what I had in my mind. It is a wonderful book. Emotional, tough to read at a few points and it ended up touching my heart in a way no book has ever done. It is a book I think everyone would benefit from reading.
Describing the book without giving away the story is difficult and I think it is critical that one goes into the story without too much prior knowledge of what is going on. Barbara Thorson is a girl struggling through 5th grade. She is a bit of an outcast and he insistence that she is a giant killer has isolated her from both her family and the the rest of the world. She is clearly too intelligent for her own good and as a result comes off as a real smart ass to everyone including those people trying to help her and be a part of her life. Barbara seems to be the typical outsider that plays D&D and has nothing but disdain for the rest of the world because they just don’t understand what is really happening.
As the story progresses, it becomes clear that Barbara is dealing with something far worse than teachers that don’t understand her and bullies that won’t leave her alone. This is where the story shines. Barbara’s story is slowly revealed through the course of the book and by the end it is tough not to find the tears flowing. I mean that literally. This book got hard for me to read. It is a book about friendship, about accepting the world as it is, and about letting go.
One of the things I really got out of this was a reminded that you never know what is going on in someone else’s life. It is a phrase often stated but remains just as true as ever. We would do well not to assume anything about a person when we don’t know enough about them. Even the most perfect person has their own struggles and battles. Best to keep that in mind before we pass judgement.
Joe Kelly’s story and JM Ken Nimura’s art work well together to tell Barabara’s story. This is a black an white comic but don’t let that push you away. I think the format works very well for this book. Although the art isn’t complicated in detail it is worth taking time to appreciate. Their are subtleties there that I suspect many would miss but it adds to the development of Barbara’s world. Frightening when it needs to be frightening and joyous when it needs to be joyous. I wish I knew more about these creators but I believe this is my first experience with them but I intend to seek out more of their work.
I Kill Giants is a touchingly beautiful story that I can’t recommend highly enough. It might not work for kids under 12 and there are some adult references in the book but overall it has something to say to all of us, young and old. Seek it out if you can or just borrow my copy if you can’t. I would love to talk to you about it.