Friday, January 7, 2011

How To Understand Israel by reading graphic novels

How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less by Sarah Glidden

Another stellar graphic novel proving that the medium has an essential place in storytelling, this comic is the first full-length effort by Boston-native Sarah Glidden and should be shelved alongside Joe Sacco's works and Maus in terms of its importance for fostering an intelligent discussion of the troubles between Israel and Palestine. It doesn't touch on the extreme alienation and despair of Sacco & Spiegelman's works because Glidden's story is of an American-born Jew who takes the birthright trip with the intention of reinforce her preconceived pro-Palestinian ideas that most college students sporting a keffiyeh share. As the trip progresses, her prejudices begin to break down through a very emotional process as she begins to formulate her own opinion. While the ending of the book leaves us with the same question Sarah was asking herself at the beginning, the process of reading it allows us to encounter and embrace our own uncertainty of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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