A family saga that appears cute – “Artichoke Tales” by Megan Kelso
Isn’t it adorable?
You wouldn’t think that “Artichoke Tales” would be a family saga about a civil war. Right?
Well, you’d be wrong. Much like I was.
Author/Artist Megan Kelso beautifully tells a dark story through beautiful and whimsical drawings.
For starters, her characters have artichoke heads. The reason why is never explained. However, I was reminded of something I once heard – that you can get away with things more often when things are cute or funny. It’s why shows like “South Park” can get away with saying the things they say. I mean, it’s animation. Whats the harm?
Artichoke heads or not, “Artichoke Tales” is a great read. The story focuses on three generations of women of the Quicksand family – Grandmother Charlotte, Mother Ramona and granddaughter Brigitte’s are all in the same business of running an apothecary where they turn plants and other natural elements into medicines. The women’s stories come in and out as their world lives through a civil war not unlike the U.S. Civil War (though presided over by a Queen) and they grow up and fall in love and learn about themselves. War leaves scars, and these last for generations sometimes.
If I had a squabble with the book, it’s that since the characters are only line drawings, sometimes they’re hard to tell apart – especially when we’re in flashbacks to when all three women are young, and the resemblance is very close. Fortunately, there’s a family tree with pictures in the front cover of the book which serves as a helpful reference.
More like an epic saga than what a graphic novel is commonly assumed to be, this book is well worth a read and worth all the acclaim it’s received.