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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book 90/100: The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis

The Motherless OvenThe Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a strange, interesting little graphic novel, and reading it is like stumbling through a dream. In this world the sky rains knives, the wind gusts laughter, and kids build their parents when they are in elementary school. The parents are sort of (possibly sentient?) appliances, such as lawn mowers, hair dryers, etc. The "Dads" tend to be more masculine appliances, the "moms" more feminine, but they perform functions much like the parents in our world do -- greeting friends at the door, getting the child off to school in the morning, etc. And they also seem to have a special relationship with "the gods," smaller, single-purpose appliances like egg timers.

In this world, everyone knows their deathday, and the graphic novel follows the main character, Scarper, in the weeks that he knows will be his last. In this time his dad runs away, he makes two new friends, and the three of them decide to search for "The Motherless Oven" the place that, supposedly, all people once came from.

A desire to understand this bizarre world kept me turning the pages. Was it a commentary on our relationship to technology and material possessions? Have we made the objects of comfort and convenience our "gods"? Even so, the technology in this world remains fairly primitive -- it has a retro, 1960s feel to it. The artwork is suitably dark and brooding, the panels and text bubbles laid out perfectly before you so that you're never lost in this strange place.

Much as I feared/expected it would, the book came to a close with far too many questions left unanswered. For me, it was still a worthwhile experience, but it you're the type of reader who needs neat endings, this might not be the graphic novel for you. There is talk of sequels, though, so there may be hope.

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