Books Are Pretty

Monday, May 29, 2006

Cry Yourself to Sleep.

One of the nicest gifts given to readers by artists who take the personal approach with their artistic expression is how neatly it simultaneously presents our differences and similarities. C. Tyler, author of the brilliant Late Bloomer, presents her work from the perspective of one who has traveled farther down the path than some, and allowing us to see the evolution of an individual’s life from innocence to wisdom, and from low times to high. No less valuable is the presentation of life via characters who are just starting off on their path to maturity, especially when presented in such a sweet and melancholy style as Jeremy Tinder’s Cry Yourself to Sleep.

The little graphic novel gives us three loosely overlapping storylines. Jim, a yellow-furred rabbit who loses his fast food job for refusing to wear the fingered gloves that slide off his paws, struggles to make the rent by asking his parents for money. While his rabbit mother is sympathetic, his human father is less so, refusing to accept that he was fired because he is a rabbit (“Don’t play the species card, son.”) and insists that he get a job at his company, where he is trained by an old-timer who resents having to train the boss’ son. Jim’s roommate, Andy, is a video clerk and an aspiring novelist recently crushed by his first rejection letter, and their pal the robot, who wants to discover his humanity and spends the novel literally trying to live as free as a bird.

While the robot story is amusing, it's definitely the least strong of the three stories, and kind of gets in the way of the story of Andy, the sweet-natured video clerk who has reached one of the first of many difficult adult choices adults must face: should he continue to work toward life as a writer, or should he opt for the stability of a steady paycheck, putting his dreams aside in hopes that he will be another Late Bloomer?

Additionally, Andy's shy, gentle courtship of a video store customer is so enearing that Cry Yourself to Sleep should be required reading for all 20-something girls who are interested in finding out what really lurks in the hearts of their male counterparts - it even fits neatly into a purse.

Although Tinder's debut novel is so small it could be easily overlooked when surrounded by larger, more sprawling and ambitious works, it's well worth looking out for. As Cry Yourself to Sleep proves, it's often the soft, gentle voices most worth listening to.

Cry Yourself to Sleep
by Jeremy Tinder
2006, Top Shelf Productions
81 pp
ISBN: 1-891830-81-3

This review originally appeared at TARGET="_blank">J LHLS.

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