Updated: Jan 30, 2020
TITLE: Lulu Anew
AUTHOR: Étienne Davodeau
PUBLISHER: NBM Publishing
PUBLISHED DATE: January 1, 2012
There is so much to say about this little book. I really don't even know where to begin. Like most mom books - I related to some things, and was baffled by others.
Lulu is a mother of three children, one a teenaged daughter named Morgane and two sons who appear to be twins. This is a story within a story...told to us initially through a family friend, and then by Morgane. After being rejected for a job because she is an aging woman and a mother - Lulu sets off on an adventure and leaves her alcoholic husband and 3 children to set off on a contagious adventure. The length of time of this adventure is unclear. Early in the story is says Lulu was gone for 10 years. But the timeline of events doesn't seem to add up, and the children also don't age when Lulu makes her unapologetic return.
Initially, this story is being told to Lulu's family members. They are all concerned about Lulu and her children. Where has she gone? When is she coming back? Lulu's 16 year old daughter has taken on the role as mother. We see her waiting on her relatives, taking care of her younger brothers, and admonishing her drunken father for being foolish enough to leave a resignation letter on his boss's desk.
Overwhelmed and feeling bored and unloved, Lulu meets a stranger in a hotel restaurant who invites her to drive out with her in the morning. With hesitation, Lulu leaves with the woman, and embarks on a journey where she finds romance with a man recently released from prison (and his brothers), an older woman living alone, and a younger woman being mistreated at work. When her family friend seeks Lulu out and tries to get her to come home, he notices how happy she is and doesn't want to ruin her happiness. Even when Lulu's daughter follows the family friend, and spies on her mother, and see her happiness for herself, she agrees that her mother is happy and should have to come home.
What the ....?
Like, I'm sorry - but I don't believe most 16 year olds, if any, could do this. It is clear that Morgane has taken on the role of mother and caretaker in a home void of adults up to the task of taking on any responsibility. The whole message and tone of the book is that the mother should be free to run away from home and be a loafer and squatter. I thought at some point, Lulu might go and get a job, and start sending money home.I was hoping that she may find some greater purpose and come back to her family feeling wiser and more confident.... Nope. She was content to leech off of people, going from place to place and kind of living like a wanderer.
The artwork was okay. A lot of the character resembled each other, and it could be difficult to tell who was who at times. The story itself was intriguing, but it kind of got tiring trying to figure out what the hell was this woman doing? Then there's the question of how long was she gone. Was she gone 10 years or 10 days? Then, she returns home, with a stranger wraps up nicely with Lulu supposedly learning a lesson about life, but - what lesson?
Recommendation: If you'd like to get into graphic novels - but would like to explore gn's that have a more realistic theme - this is one to check out.
*I borrowed this book from my library Hoopla account.