Little Fish: A Memoir from a Different Kind of Year
Told through real-life journals, collages, lists, and drawings, this coming-of-age story illustrates the transformation of an 18-year-old girl from a small-town teenager into an independent city-dwelling college student. Written in an autobiographical style with beautiful artwork, Little Fish shows the challenges of being a young person facing the world on her own for the very first time and the unease—as well as excitement—that comes along with that challenge.
This book is one of a kind for me. I’ve never before read a book that had this combination of lists, drawings, collages, etc. . It was a lot of fun at the start, but once the newness had wore off I sometimes felt it lacked in the dialogue department. Perhaps I’m being picky, or I’m just not used to reading comics, but for me there just wasn’t enough in the dialogues. They just left me wanting more details, more pages, more depth.
I find this to be a very hard book to review, because I’m just not used to reviewing a book which is not a novel. It’s a bit weird because (perhaps unjustly so) I feel as if I can’t follow the same basic reviewing plan for this one. But on I go with this review. As a fervent list-maker myself I could really appreciate the ones in the book. At first. But it did get a bit old at times. I guess it’s just not as fun to read them as it is to write them? And there were also times when the lists were about things that I would never make a list about. But I will admit that these lists made the book more personal, especially seeing as these were written by Ramsey herself at the time she is portraying in her story. But a smaller amounts of lists would definitely have been fine with me. Especially seeing as they could also slow down the story as well.
The drawings in this book were amazing, every character was always very easily distinguishable which is a definite plus. However the dialogue in them was often a bit too brief to my liking. Especially because we got to know (through the life journals) how good of a writer Ramsey can be. She sometimes had these sentences that really touched home for me. But that wasn’t there in the dialogues. And I understand that people don’t speak like that in real life, no one is that pensive at 18 (or at least I wasn’t). But I don’t have the feeling that most conversations were that basic in real life.
Going of to college is a big step in anyone’s life, and even more so if it’s to a college far away from home. The story that was being told was a very interesting and personal one. It definitely showed us the journey which Ramsey had during this first year away from home. But I guess that sometimes it’s hard to write a memoir about a year like this. Sometimes there are things that were so very important to you, but they can be so very hard to convey as well. And that’s something that I felt while reading this book. And I’m not saying this to be rude in any way, but not everyone has that kind of life in which many things happen (action wise). I think this format would have done better if it were about a year which had been a bit more action packed and less focused on the emotional stuff. The lists were a great way for the reader to meet the writer, but as for telling the story it felt a bit lacking as well. It gave us insight, but only into a very limited topic. But it was nice to read about this year which changed a lot in Ramsey’s life.
I feel like I’ve been blundering my way through this review! If I didn’t feel like I was nearly insulting the author’s life it definitely felt as if the words struggling to come out of my head. So for the record, I did like the story and I did like the format, I just think the combo might have been a bit off. This format didn’t go well with such an emotional journey in my opinion.