This graphic autobiography explores David B’s life growing up with an epileptic brother. What started out as an idyllic childhood playing on the streets of France with his brother, Jean-Christophe, and sister, Florence, quickly turned into a life of anger and frustration when Jean-Christophe is diagnosed with epilepsy. David and his siblings are dragged from place to place as his parents search for a cure, which always ends in disappointment.
David’s account is touching and incredibly honest. The way he talks about his feelings towards his brother is both brutal and compelling. I have to say I was impressed by the sheer openness. However, it didn’t do anything to improve my understanding of the illness. As he himself wasn’t afflicted by it, I’m not convinced David himself truly understood either (although it is interesting to look at an illness from the viewpoint of someone who is affected but not afflicted by it). The story is also quite difficult to follow in parts. The time frames jump regularly but in no particular pattern and usually without warning. I struggled to understand the relevance of some of the stories he included. The book is much longer than it needs to be.
That being said, this is of course a graphic novel and is therefore driven by images rather than words – a thing a graphic novel newbie like me struggles with. I did not find the images particularly skilful or attractive to look at, which I think is the main reason I did not get on very well with this book. The characters look the roughly the same throughout, which made understanding their age and progression almost impossible. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who does not already have a strong interest in either epilepsy or graphic novels.