Monday, March 18, 2019

Graphic Memoir review of Hey, kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka
Format:  Ebook
35794239Publisher: Graphix
Number of Pages: 320
Published:  September 25th, 2018
Source: Library 

Opening Lines: "Cmon, get behind the wheel."

Summary from Goodreads:  "In kindergarten, Jarrett Krosoczka's teacher asks him to draw his family, with a mommy and a daddy. But Jarrett's family is much more complicated than that. His mom is an addict, in and out of rehab, and in and out of Jarrett's life. His father is a mystery -- Jarrett doesn't know where to find him, or even what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents -- two very loud, very loving, very opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along.
Jarrett goes through his childhood trying to make his non-normal life as normal as possible, finding a way to express himself through drawing even as so little is being said to him about what's going on. Only as a teenager can Jarrett begin to piece together the truth of his family, reckoning with his mother and tracking down his father."
When I first heard of Hey, Kiddo it was in connection to it being nominated as a Goodreads Choice Award, and then later from members of MGBookVillage via Twitter.  It's a story that really piqued my interest not only because it was a personal account of Krosoczka growing up with his grandparents due to his mother's heroin addiction, but also because it's something I see affecting my community.  In my state, the number of alcohol-related deaths is higher than the national average and the number of meth users is climbing.  It's concerning the amount of pressure and outside factors that can get in the way of children's ability to learn at school and I wanted to read this personal account, to educate myself.  

Krosoczka is an excellent storyteller and the images in Hey, Kiddo really capture the environment that he grew up in and does a remarkable job of bringing to light what it felt like growing up with a mother who was addicted to heroin.  He doesn't hold back and it is a very personal and heartfelt story.  The artwork is excellent and I especially liked the author's note at the back of the book describing the details and planning for the story.  All of the sketches were done by hand using traditional methods of pencil and paper and then made to fit the page via computer.  The amount of time it must have taken for each page, and then to go back and add the watercolors and other touches.  Impressive.  Another aspect of Hey, Kiddo that I enjoyed was the inclusion of letters he had received from his mother and samples of his early artwork.  He even managed to find a way to include his grandfather's art and incorporated some of the pineapple wallpaper his grandmother was so fond of into the book. Makes me wish that I had kept some of my father's drawings that he made for me when I was a kid.  From the story, you can really tell how much he must have loved his grandparents, and how much they loved him.   A must read and as  Krosoczka has previously stated will "hopefully help kids who are going through a similar situation to feel less alone." 

1 comment:

DMS said...

Sounds like a powerful memoir. How interesting that it is told in graphic novel format. I was very close to my grandparents- so I am intrigued. Thanks for sharing. :)