Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Review of "Bumperhead," by Gilbert Hernandez

Review of

Bumperhead, by Gilbert Hernandez, ISBN 9781770461659

Four out of five stars

 All of us that are decades out of the teen years know or are themselves a person that seemed to languish in school and then continued that pattern long after high school ended. The teen years are filled with high passions of many forms intermixed with lows that seem devastating. Yet, the majority not only manage to survive the teen years, but also move on to successes of various forms, which often includes producing and raising children.

 The title character is a boy named Bobby that has been given the nickname “Bumperhead.” He is not one of the “cool kids” that always are present and dominate the high school experience for all. He is of Mexican extraction and his detached mother dies when he is a preteen, after that he lives with his father. Even though his father has lived in the United States for years, there are adult “cool kids” that look down on him for being Hispanic. Their relationship is not a close one, Bobby has a great deal of hostility towards his father and the rest of the world He engages in rebellious actions of drug and alcohol use, doing as little as possible otherwise.

This story in graphic novel form follows Bobby through a life of janitorial work, drinking, rather bizarre girlfriends and basically just getting by. It is not an uplifting story by any means, in fact it is a downer. Midway through the story, I felt an uncharacteristic urge to take one of the upper pills that Bobby’s friend is addicted to. Life is hard for most people and Bobby is no exception. You find yourself rooting for him at first, but then resign yourself to the reality that he really is not going to make a great deal of himself.

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