Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lisa Bee’s #CBR5 Review #05: Daytripper by Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon

I couldn’t tell you how many people asked me if I was planning a vacation upon seeing that I was reading a book called Daytripper. And even though, yes, am, this is not in fact a book about day-trips or traveling adventures: it is something else entirely.

Co-written and drawn by twin brothers from Brazil, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon, Daytripper is a graphic novel that examines the moments in life that define us. Or, more likely, it takes a look at the moments that make us truly start living, but in a very Benjamin Button “if-one-thing-had-been-different-or-taken-a-second-longer-would-this-have-happened?” kind of way. Ideas concerning death, and the subsequent lives of those left behind are also explored, through having the protagonist work as an obituary writer for a long time.

The story itself follows a man named Brás de Olivia Domingos at various ages, and not necessarily in chronological order. Each short tale includes some moment of Bras’ life that made him really start to appreciate the beauty of the world, or question the ultimate purpose of it all, such as his first kiss, the birth of his son, or the disappearance of his best friend. Each day, however, ends with a tragic twist, before stepping off to another point of his life, making you wonder if the conclusion of any story in fact occurred, or if it was all just a dream. Or maybe they are all part of a multi-dimensional universe, a-la that 1998 Goop-tastic masterpiece, Sliding Doors? It is in this way both confusing yet intriguing, and it’s ultimately up to the reader to determine how they want to interpret everything.

As far as the designs and artistry of Daytripper goes, Moon and Bá obviously have a knack for capturing Sorkin-length dialogue in the briefest of human glances, which definitely aids in the overall feeling of their story. Every frame is strongly detailed, and I couldn’t help but think highly of it, though it stands to reason that dependent on everyone’s individual tastes, some might find some of the character depictions as childish or unnecessarily exaggerated in feature. I however, adore the style of the brother’s drawings, but then again, I sort of fell in love Bá in the past, when I read the first two volumes of The Umbrella Academy, so I’m a little biased on that front…

If there is one fault in Daytripper, however, it comes from the final section of the novel, which in it’s resolution hinges on becoming somewhat preachy and laying an ultimate moral right out in front of you. The entire novel leading up to that point relied on the reader to form their own understandings, which in itself is extremely effective, so I’m not sure why it was crucial to pinpoint one exact “message” in the conclusion.

But overall, Daytripper is an incredibly quick read, and interesting in that it is quite different from that which I have typically read in the past. It is also very soft in that it never feels overpowering in dialogue or action, yet still sails along with a good pace, and I would definitely recommend it if you are looking to read something quick and calm, but not without a strong heart at its centre. 

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