- Posted by Johanna on December 13, 2005 at 2:46 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: story by Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir; art by Jose Garibaldi
- PUBLISHER: Oni Press; $10.95 US
A year ago, Joseph and Matthew’s wedding split Joseph’s large Italian family. At the ceremony, Joseph’s brother Frankie spoke his mind about the situation, condemning those family members who refused to attend. Now, it’s the next big family gathering, as their cousin Maria is getting married. Frankie’s afraid of the reception he’ll get, but he has to attend to support Maria.
Everyone’s warning him not to make another scene. It’s typical of families never to forget incidents like that one, but their concern reflects a deeper divide between old and new traditions. The family’s almost become two warring camps, with younger members caught in the middle.
Early in the book is a family tree that’s an essential reference, with so many children and spouses and girlfriends and cousins to keep track of. The artist does a good job of having the relatives resemble each other while still maintaining their individual looks. I enjoyed seeing what being part of a large, traditional family meant, both good and bad, with a wide variety of personalities captured wonderfully.
Maria’s wedding will keep her from attending college, a choice that the younger cousins are working to accept. They have to come to terms with letting others determine their own sources of happiness. Frankie’s outspokenness scares others, especially those who feel they’ve never had the choice or ability to say what they really think. Yet he feels that more often than not, he doesn’t say something when he’d like to.
It’s a grownup choice, how to balance your beliefs and being true to yourself with being tactful and keeping family gatherings pleasant. As time moves past, all generations have this dilemma, how to maintain their traditions without maintaining bigotries or becoming hidebound. How to accept members of your family you would never otherwise choose to put up with. How to love them without losing yourself. It’s rewarding to watch how this particular family works through those issues.