Title: Look Straight Ahead
Author: Elaine M. Will
Page Count/Review Word Count: 256
Look Straight Ahead is a fictionalised version of a true story – that of author Elaine Will’s struggles with mental illness. Indeed, the book is extremely realistic in my view, but then I have first-hand experience of a few of the issues that it covers and second-hand experience of a few more. Loosely speaking, it follows the story of 17-year-old Jeremy Knowles, an aspiring artist, as he suffers from a mental breakdown, and the book examines the way that society deals with him, and how he deals with society.
Will’s graphical style is pretty clean and mostly in black and white, although she does use colour for great effect – she’s also very good at evoking a mood by going a couple of pages without dialogue, reminding me of the mood boards that my colleagues sometimes use for graphic design projects. There’s not too much detail and not too little, and it’s interesting to see how the imagery reflects Jeremy’s state of mind throughout the story.
I sped through this in a day because I was hooked from start to finish, and I reckon I might just re-read it again in a couple of weeks. It’s one of those books – y’know, the kind you can re-read and re-read, without getting bored of it? And because it’s a graphic novel, you’ll see new things in the visuals as well as in the story line. Go get it!