Thank you to Random House Graphic and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
Release Date: October 13th 2020
Tags: Graphic Novel | Young Adult | Family | Fairytale | Cinderella | Tattercoats | Gay MC | Vietnamese-American MC | Vietnamese MC
Trigger/Content Warnings: Homophobia | on page death |off page death | cannibalism
Real life isn’t a fairytale.
But Tiến still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It’s hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tiến, he doesn’t even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he’s going through?
Is there a way to tell them he’s gay?
This is just one of those graphic novels that manages to grab you and then never lets you go.
Tiến is an almost 13 year old who is of Vietnamese descent. While he grew up completely in America, his parents are immigrants. His mother speaks mainly Vietnamese and he speaks mainly English. But through stories, fairytales, they find their connection with each other daily. The story is told through the eyes of Tiến and his mother who try to find their way in life. Between losing a loved one and how to tell your parents you are gay, the fairytales are there to help guide the story.
It is an emotional story that will hit you hard. I was close to crying at some point and really wanted to throw something at the reverend. There is somethng about the way the artist manages to convey the unspoke words between Tiến and his mother. About the way he draws the body language.
Safe to say is that I greatly appreciated the art in this graphic novel. It was consistent and beautiful. The colour changes between the fairy tale and the story of Tiến were spot on. It made it easier to follow the story and to differ between the two, but it also added to the emotional balance.