Sunday, December 6, 2015

Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt Review

Title: Jane, the Fox and Me
Author: Fanny Britt (illustrator) Christelle Morelli (translator)
Pages:  104
Published: September 1st 2013 by Groundwood Books
Source: Library
Links: goodreads ,

Hélène has been inexplicably ostracized by the girls who were once her friends. Her school life is full of whispers and lies — Hélène weighs 216; she smells like BO. Her loving mother is too tired to be any help. Fortunately, Hélène has one consolation, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Hélène identifies strongly with Jane’s tribulations, and when she is lost in the pages of this wonderful book, she is able to ignore her tormentors. But when Hélène is humiliated on a class trip in front of her entire grade, she needs more than a fictional character to allow her to see herself as a person deserving of laughter and friendship.
Leaving the outcasts’ tent one night, Hélène encounters a fox, a beautiful creature with whom she shares a moment of connection. But when Suzanne Lipsky frightens the fox away, insisting that it must be rabid, Hélène’s despair becomes even more pronounced: now she believes that only a diseased and dangerous creature would ever voluntarily approach her. But then a new girl joins the outcasts’ circle, Géraldine, who does not even appear to notice that she is in danger of becoming an outcast herself. And before long Hélène realizes that the less time she spends worrying about what the other girls say is wrong with her, the more able she is to believe that there is nothing wrong at all. This emotionally honest and visually stunning graphic novel reveals the casual brutality of which children are capable, but also assures readers that redemption can be found through connecting with another, whether the other is a friend, a fictional character or even, amazingly, a fox.
I remember hearing about this graphic novel as soon as it came out. I have two fellow bloggers (Bookish Whimsy, and  Picture Me Reading) who just love Jane Eyre and that is where I first saw mention of this graphic novel.  I thought about not reading it since I haven't read Jane Eyre but thought I would give it a go.  My library never had it though so then I just forgot about it.  Recently my library did order it because a new edition came out.

I think what makes Jane, the Fox and Me a great graphic novel is the artwork.  In Helene's world everything is dark and grey. Helene is a girl who is bullied and and tries to hide.  She goes to school and doesn't want to be noticed.  I think a lot of us have been there at some point in our lives.  She then finds out that her school is going on a camping field trip and she will be stuck with all these kids. I can imagine how awful that would be.  Helene finds refuge in a book.. Jane Eyre!  So the book will all of a sudden change art technique to colors and different handwriting when talking about Jane Eyre.   I thought this was interesting.  Sometimes we find friends in odd places and for her at this time in her life it was in a book.

Eventually... Helene meets this little fox.  He comes in the night when she is at this campout with all those kids.  The fox comes up to her like he will be her friend until one of the kids comes out and scares the fox off. Eventually after this Helene does meet a friend.. and then a few more.  I suppose they are all outcasts of sorts but they find friendship with each other.  Eventually... this can happen to all of us but I think only if you are in the right place at the right time.  I felt bad for her mother in the book.  Her mom tries to understand and help Helene.  I think she can tell that Helene has a hard time at school but Helene tries to hide it from her mom.  Her mom is her friend though and Helene knows this.

This book isn't amazing.. I just think it is really good because most of us can relate to the things that happen to Helene. Plus the illustrations really bring out the emotions that Helene is feeling.  It is definitely a book worth checking out from the library and just reading in one sitting.

4 out of 5

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