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Tuesday, May 24, 2005
True Story Swear To God: This One Goes To 11 by Tom Beland
This is one of those series that has developed a very strong and dedicated audience of readers, yet nevertheless stayed under my radar for a very long time. I was glad it was selling, and I was glad people were enjoying it, but there are only so many hours in the day and so it just dropped onto my list of titles to check out "when I have the time." Well, thanks to a nudge from Larry Young, who sent a copy, I decided to sit down and make some time.
Beland has a great artistic style. It's very loose and fluid, one of those styles that looks deceptively simple but is really quite elegant and developed. It's a good match for his story, which is very emotionally real and recognizable. It's a very human, engaging story with characters that are instantly likeable, and the open-ness and elegance of the line-work contributes to that immensely.
My one, very minor complaint, is that starting with the second volume for my reading was probably a mistake. There are relationships between characters that aren't made explicit, and I suspect they were dealt with in the first book. For example, I didn't realize that Joe was Tom's brother until nearly half-way through the book. Likewise, while I do get a strong sense of the love between Tom and Lily, it's origin is still a bit of a mystery to me. I suppose the best solution for that is for me to go and buy the first volume.
But that very minor complaint aside, this was a charming, funny, engaging and heartfelt book that I really enjoyed.