Sunday, January 6, 2019

MMGM (1/14/2019): Sheets by Brenna Thummler

I've been reading a lot of graphic novels lately, so, for MMGM, I am recommending another one: Sheets by Brenna Thummler.




Sheets switches points of view between two characters: Marjorie and Wendell. Marjorie is a 13-year-old girl who deals with regular middle-school problems, such as avoiding bullies and having crushes. However, she also has to run her family's laundromat, formerly run by her late mother. Taking orders from constantly disgruntled customers takes a toll on her, and it doesn't help that one (delusional) customer wants to buy the laundromat and turn it into a grand resort. Wendell, meanwhile, is a young ghost. He lives in the monotonous, gray (literally) Land of Ghosts, where he doesn't fit in with the other ghosts and suffers through an unpleasant support group for those who died young. Wendell runs away and finds Marjorie's laundromat, which, being a floating sheet, is extremely fun for him to stay in. However, as he inadvertently wreaks havoc in the laundromat and upsets its already-impatient customers, Marjorie has to keep her customers happy and keep her life together. One of my favorite parts of Sheets is how likable and realistic Marjorie and Wendell are. Marjorie's father has fallen apart from grief, leaving Marjorie as the de facto parent in the family. Her motivation to keep going, plowing through hardship after hardship as well as her own anxieties and feelings, makes her a great main character. Wendell, meanwhile, shows how a child might feel after dying so early. His feelings of loss of the life he could have lives, as well as worries stemming from his actual death, make an impossible character (a ghost) seem lifelike. Sheets is very melancholy, especially for its first half, but it is sprinkled with enough humor to keep it enjoyable. I also love how author Brenna Thummler has built an entire world through her illustrations. Houses have quirky interiors and many rooms, small businesses abound on every street, cars seem so realistic that I'm pretty sure I've seen them in real life, and the beautiful blues, greens, and pinks of Marjorie's world contrast with the dull grayish-blues of Wendell's. (Side note: why can't my neighborhood be filled with pink trees and their leaves?) Thummler's attention to detail makes Sheets seem like just an extension of the real world. If you enjoy books with realistic worlds, excellent characters, and great balances of humor and sadness, then Sheets is the perfect book for you (and everyone else)!

4 comments:

  1. Sounds like this has a lot going for it==exploring some deep issues and maintaining some humor. Sounds like a book I'd like. Thanks for sharing it.

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  2. What a creative idea for a story! The characters and setting have this one high on my list of books to read. Thanks for your thoughts.

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  3. Such an unusual story and way to work through your grief -- it feels like magical realism. Like the cover -- at first I thought Wendell was a dryer sheet, like "Bounce." Enjoyed your review!

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  4. I don't read a lot of graphic novels, but you make this sound pretty attractive. Thanks for the heads up on this one.

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