Wednesday, September 25, 2013

War Brothers: The Graphic Novel by Sharon E. McKay Illustrated by Daniel Lafrance YP FIC MCCAY

 They came in the night. They killed anyone that got in their way and they took the boys.  They march them through the jungle. They are told they fight for God now and only soldiers eat. They are the Lord's Resistance Army and they are ruthless killers that use children as soldiers. They are told that God does not protect the weak, so anyone that falls from hunger is left to die. This is the story of one group of friends that tries to escape before they become killers or killed.  

This is a harrowing book.  The immediacy in which the LRA comes and turns the kids lives completely upside down is horrifying.  The depiction of the LRA as indiscriminate murders, rapists, and enslavers of children is sadly very accurate. The horror that the book explores could actually have been far worse than it is.  Wisely, McCay shows us just enough to shock and appall us without becoming exploitative of the very real tragedies this book is based on. The dialogue is sometimes a little straightforward and stiff, but the book manages to shine in so many of the pivotal moments of carnage or heartsickness. The art works very well for the story. The panels stay very tight on the faces of our protagonists and villains intensifying the trapped sensation.  Lafrance uses shadow and color to intensify the tension and violence, without having to have gratuitous gore.  I think this is a wonderful use of the medium to explore the horrors of war, especially a war fought by children.   

You can find War Brothers in our catalog here.

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