Source: Raincoast Books
What do I say about Earthling? It’s honest, sincere and a bit uncomfortable. The graphic novel follows a mother and her two daughters who are all desperately unhappy. The mom feels like she has wasted her life becoming a housewife and a mother. Her husband has gone on a business trip on his own and afterwards is going on a vacation with their daughters—I don’t think she was invited. The older daughter is infatuated with a boy who is using her for sex, the younger daughter, Madchen, cannot understand everyone’s preoccupation with sex and in fact, discovers an alien in a field and she brings him home unbeknownst to her family.
The novel is sad, almost desperately so and the art reflects this. There is not much dialogue in the novel and this functions to keep the focus on the art and the mood and atmosphere created by the art. The heartache seems more pronounced through the medium precisely because of the lack of dialogue.
All three of the characters escape, however briefly, into fantasy worlds that probably help them cope with the disappointments life keeps shoving at them. I most empathized with the mother because I felt her musings about her life were the most profound as she stared at a happier version of herself; the version who didn’t go to the club and didn’t meet the girls’ father, didn’t get pregnant, and didn’t drop out of college. The alien in the story is just a personification of Madchen’s feelings of being an alien in her life.
I really enjoyed this graphic novel. Though the ending is a bit abrupt, the novel did give me a lot to think about.