Mother Come Home, Paul Hornschemeier

I was just saying the other day that I never find good graphic novels to read by myself.  So today I was at the library and I decided I was damn well going to learn how to be independent and find a good graphic novel all on my own.  Yeah, and review it here, so other people would know about it too.  Mother Come Home is a graphic novel about a seven-year-old boy called Thomas Tennant who loses his mother, and how he and his father deal (or don’t deal) with the loss.

I said in my review of The Savage that I think it’s brilliant all the things that books with pictures can do.  They can do all kinds of things that books without pictures can’t do, and I am sad that I was so ignorant of this fact five years ago. I do not unconditionally love Mother Come Home, but there were bits that were lovely.  Thomas and his father are both bearing up as best they can, Thomas taking care of the places that his mother used to love, and his father struggling to keep track of everything.  Eventually Thomas unintentionally reveals to his caring aunt and uncle that his father has been missing work – I tried to find pictures of these pages and failed, but this is a lovely and imaginative bit of the book.  When his father is committed to a mental hospital, Thomas retreats into his imagination, planning and planning how he will free his father.

I liked this right up until the end.  Want to know why?  Yeah, I will tell you why.  It’s because at the end, after some very sweet and tender moments between the father and the son, the father (he’s called David Tennant and I can tell you he DOES NOT DESERVE TO BE) gets the son to push him off a cliff.  I do not like this because it is selfish and bad parenting, and I also do not like it because it’s melodramatic, and the rest of the book wasn’t.  Disappointing ultimately, particularly because it means I still haven’t found a really good graphic novel all my own.  I almost, almost, almost did.  But not quite.

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3 thoughts on “Mother Come Home, Paul Hornschemeier

  1. I think you are unfair to Hornschemeier and to this novel. Not only is Mother, Come Home a remarkable structural achievement, but it also does a thing that marks most great literature: it forces the reader to confront differing points of view concerning deep human emotions. You seem to forget that one cannot judge a book by the same standards as a person. Yes, David Tennant commits suicide with the assistance of his young son. In real life, this would be inexcusable. In literature, on the other hand, it is a clever way of expressing the conflict between two different kinds of love, and the opening pages of this book make it clear that David’s suicide is not an abdication of life or responsibility, but a way for him to set to rights his experience with his dead wife. This is literature, not news. Give the characters some leeway; they are only there to help the author try to expose some very real, very human truths.

    • I understand the thematic point of it, but isn’t the point of a book that you’ll agree to believe in these characters for a little while? I have a hard time with books full of irresponsible parents, because there are so many irresponsible parents in real life. Then as well I wasn’t happy with the tone of the resolution as it related to the rest of the book. I’m glad you enjoyed it though! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Comic-A-Week – Jan 9-15 – Mother, Come Home | Regular Rumination

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