The Squirrel Mother
Post #821 • June 29, 2006, 12:36 PM • 3 Comments
The Squirrel Mother anthologizes works written and drawn by Megan Kelso that appeared in various publications between 2000 and 2006. Her artistic style, in which people are four-fingered, button-eyed, and as cute as daisies, provides a sweet flavor to stories with great psychological complexity. In "Meow Face," a girl's aunt suffers a mental break while babysitting her, brought on by a game of dress-up that shows her unable to deal with the real world. In "The Pickle Fork," a persistent museum curator uses flattery and false promises to talk a widow into donating her collection of silver, while the maid looks on, helpless and nearly mute. In "Split Rock, Montana," a girl salves her adolescent pain by picking a boy at random out of a group of friends and servicing him behind an abandoned car in an empty feild. ("Crying is a kind of thinking," the narrator says.) Kelso can handle denser narratives, as she does in a complex retelling of the life of Alexander Hamilton via a student obsessed with him. But I prefer when her stories have room to breathe, as she uses both narrative and graphic space to beautiful effect.