[GN] Skim – Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

March 31, 2010 § 12 Comments

This slim graphic novel tells the story of a not-so-slim girl, Kimberly Keiko Cameron (aka Skim), who has some serious issues. Not only is she an Asian growing up in Canada, she’s also interested in wicca, calls herself a witch (or soon to be one anyway), and has a crush on her drama teacher (female). That’s a lot of “other-ness” all bundled up in one person.

What really drew me into the book was Kim’s strained friendship with Lisa, her best friend. I don’t think it was the core of the book, because mostly the story was centralised around Kim and what she was going through (it was written in a “Dear Diary” way), but there were parts where Kim would mention Lisa, and how they weren’t talking anymore, or how they didn’t understand each other, how they seemed to keep secrets from each other, and how they just started to drift apart and change. Friendship, to me, is such a major part of growing up, and ‘losing’ a best friend to change can really be a pain.

The graphics exuded a kind of deep moodiness, and I think it captured the essence of Kim very well. She’s not your chirpy teenager, nor is she the depressed, goth kind of person. She’s just someone who has issues she doesn’t quite know how to face up with, a little lost and introverted.

The story did sidetrack at times, to show us a little more about Kim. It felt a little disjointed for me, and it was difficult to really get into the book. But maybe that’s just how the book is supposed to feel like. Life isn’t something that flows smoothly from point A to point B, and more often than not, this meandering of thoughts tend to be more accentuated in a teenager’s mind. The world is spinning, your own head is spinning, and in the end, you find yourself quite lost.

Rating: 3.5

* Note: I’ve seen this book quite a few times before, but it was Ana’s list on the LGBT Challenge site, and Mee’s review that gave me the final push.

* Note #2: This is for the LGBT March Mini-Challenge.

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§ 12 Responses to [GN] Skim – Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

  • mee says:

    Skim is a rather quiet story, isn’t it? It doesn’t concentrate on one thing. It skims over several difficulties faced as teenager (pun intended). I think the art was the one that won me over.

    • Michelle says:

      You’re right, it is definitely a little quiet. The art was very flow-y too, which worked well with how the story didn’t pause much, but continued to flow even though many of the issues remained unresolved.

  • Amanda says:

    I really enjoyed this one. I wasn’t sure at first, because it seemed so disjointed and I wasn’t sure I could always tell what was going on, but it felt like that was done on purpose and that the author-artist duo used the art to really make us feel a lot the way Skim felt. I think it was the first GN that did that for me.

  • chris says:

    Fantastic review!! I agree that it was a little disjointed, but I think it was actually done on purpose to sort of show the disjointedness of her life..to show everything that was going on. I really liked it!

  • Nymeth says:

    I can’t believe I’ve yet to read this one myself! When I finally do, I’ll keep what you said about the disjointedness being part of the point in mind.

  • I’ve wanted to read skim for awhile and it’s been added to my tbr list, but I wanted to read it even more after seeing it recommended in the GLBT Graphic Novel Mini-challenge and now I see your review which intrigues me.

    I admit, one thing that is holding me back from reading the book is the Wicca practice. I need to get over that, especially since the book sounds good, it’s getting nice reviews and it’s about a topic that’s not often seen in YA lit. That is, a non-coming out novel. Well, from what I can tell, it doesn’t sound like a coming out novel. I really like how Kim is in the middle of the emotional spectrum: she’s not alwyas depressed but not always happy either. That’s realistic. Even the happiest of teens can get down sometimes, a fact that is not always shown.

    Thanks for this review 🙂

    • Michelle says:

      Hmm.. I think the Wiccan practice doesn’t get featured all that much. But then again, there’s not one thing that takes centre stage, which was also what was quite unique about this book. Most books have a central theme, but in Skim, it felt like the central theme was actually Kim herself. The Wiccan side of things only constitute one part of her life.

      Hope you read it soon. =)

  • Mae says:

    Hm, perhaps I should give it a go. I keep seeing it in my library and thought it looked ok. I’ve never read graphic novels so perhaps this might be the first.

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