Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Aya by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie
Drawn & Quarterly, based in Montreal, Quebec, is one of the prominent independent comic companies in the world. The list of award winning authors they have published includes Chester Brown, Julie Doucet, Seth, and Chris Ware. D&Q are known for their exceptional eclectic selection of material based on artistry and literature. Many of their publications also have an international flair, which allows for a diverse collection of reading material. The 2007 publication of Aya by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie, which is available in the YA section at Moore Memorial Public Library, is no exception.
Author Abouet was born in Abidjan, a city located on the Ivory Coast of Africa. Aya, her first graphic novel, is a fictional story based on her childhood memories in the 1970s. It reflects what was going on in the minds of teenage girls at the time, but can easily transition into modern times. There are girls with dreams of being doctors, girls who only look for love, boys who make a sport out of chasing girls, and the realities of teenage pregnancy. Although the story takes place in a country many of us have never visited, the reader easily transitions into the characters’ realities. Both the author and illustrator make the reader feel like a Yopougon local, including a brief illustrated guide regarding customs, local slang, and food recipes. Although there are serious elements to the storyline, including addressing political issues of the time, overall the story is very comedic. Oubrerie illustration style helps communicate the tone of the story.
The YA section in the library has other books published by Drawn & Quarterly, including Aya of Yop City, the sequel, Raymond Briggs’ Gentleman Jim, and Miriam Katin’s We Are on Our Own: a Memoir.