By Halim Mahmouidi. Published by Magnetic Press.
Softcover, 192 pages, B&W, 2019.
The resiliency of a child put to the test.
Life isn’t easy for little Brenda, whose single, teenage mom is immature, selfish, and prone to violent mood swings. Brenda takes care of herself and her mother as best as she can, missing out on many childhood joys to be her mother’s Little Mama. Sadly, her already challenging existence gets even worse when her mom’s abusive boyfriend moves in. Brenda loves having a new baby brother, but her home life soon turns into a living Hell. Finally, she reaches her breaking point, and must find the courage to save herself and embark on the difficult road towards recovery. A heartbreaking and inspiring tale of abuse and survival.
Hopping forward and backward through time through the framing device of therapy, the story unfolds as young Brenda recounts her tale, visibly maturing as the book (and sessions) continue. At first, we think it might be a child psychology session, but slowly we realize that it is in fact the adult Brenda merely feeling like the child she was at whatever age she is at during her storytelling.
A powerful story about child abuse, spousal abuse, and surviving the trauma toward hopeful blue skies.
Writer/artist Halim Mahmouidi is a journalist and illustrator who began his career drawing editorial cartoons for numerous French and foreign newspapers before turning to full-length graphic storytelling. His first book, Arabico, won the Bulles en Fureur Award in 2011, and is one of the top 10 news and feature reports of the 2010 France Info Prize. His second book, A Free World, is part of the permanent collection at the National Museum of the History of Immigration in France. He continues to teach courses and conferences on comics and the lower-class immigrant’s struggle.