Sunday, April 21, 2013

Good Bye Chunky Rice

"Good Bye Chunky Rice" is Craig Thompson's first graphic novel. It's the tale of small tea turtle who decides to leave his home and his best friend/ (girlfriend?), Dandel the mouse, in search of something more. The novel begins with Dandel and Chunky enjoying a day at the beach. Chunky is leaving the next day and is worried about saying good bye to his best friend. She assures him that he has so much to see in the world. There is a theme of loss and longing that permeates the entire novel and gives the book a very somber feeling. The main characters are adorable, small cartoon animals and yet the emotions they evoke are so poignant. There is a scene after Chunky leaves when Dandel is on the beach. Now alone, she watches the crashing waves and says,

The feeling is heartbreaking and completely relatable. The emotions are heightened by the drawings of a poor little mouse curled up so tightly amongst the endless dark ocean. Loss is something everyone is dealing with on the ship. Livonia hasn't been able to sleep since she lost her favorite teddy bear and the ship's captain is morning the loss of his wife Glenda. Chunky deals with regret as he keeps questioning whether he made the right choice to leave. In the end the power of Dandel's determination and friendship by never giving up on contacting her friend brings Chunky a sense of hope. The novel ends with him finding one of her bottles while she's on the beach saying "There is no Good-bye, Chunky Rice."Friendship is driving force of happiness in this novel and it's the thing that everyone is trying to achieve in their various quirky ways. The art style is appealing with a cast of slightly bizarre characters. This is a world where no one bats an eye at a talking animal but none of that hinders the believeableity of these characters and their problems. The emotional impact in this short tale really packs a punch because the act like real people. 

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