April 06, 2017

Cybils Finalist Review: MARCH: BOOK THREE

Synopsis: I had been looking forward to reading this one for quite some time, and I was not disappointed. In my opinion, the graphic novel format really lends itself to conveying history in a lively and interesting way, and there are few socio-cultural topics more relevant to the current American psyche than the ongoing discussion of race and civil rights. March: Book Three brings Congressman John Lewis's three-volume memoir of the civil rights movement to a close, but it has opened a much broader discussion--one that will, I hope, increase our understanding of pervasive injustice and our obligation to keep working on ourselves until we get it right.

Observations: The wealth of historical detail in this book--and the entire series--is presented in a way that the reader can readily engage with on a personal level, putting our recent history into context as a country struggling with race and racial identity. It is brilliantly told, both as a memoir of Congressman John Lewis's life and career, and as a story of the broader moment in time beyond his individual experiences. Actually, the unsung heroes, in a way, have just as much of a starring role here, and we can see and marvel at the level of sacrifice and determination put into helping this country adhere to its stated ideals.

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The semi-loose drawing style and monochrome color scheme help add drama and an active feel, making this much more than a static depiction of historical events. History comes alive here, and is interwoven with occasional scenes from the Obama presidency, showing both ends of the timeline and how they relate. The choice of which scenes to depict and how was very effective.

Conclusion: Such a densely informative historical chronicle is going to appeal to some readers and not others, but it is presented in a very engaging way, with its focus on action, emotion, and the earnest dedication of the central figure, John Lewis. This book makes it easy to connect with history on a personal level and SEE why it is so important to know about the events leading up to the Voting Rights Act.

I received my copy of this book courtesy of my library. You can find MARCH: BOOK THREE by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell at an online e-tailer, or at a real life, independent bookstore near you!

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