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Waterwise

Written and drawn by Joel Orff

Publisher: Alternative Comics

Format: Softcover, black and white, $14.95

Category: Adult Drama

Dewey: 741.5 ORF or FIC ORF

Subjects: Graphic novels; Drama--fiction.

ISBN-13: 9781891867828

Reviewed by: Kat Kan

Two people, who were close friends as children, meet again by chance as adults when they both face crossroads in their lives. Emily and Jim (Jimbo, she calls him) spend a serendipitous day in their old haunts as they catch up with each other’s lives and build new memories upon the old. The reader sees things mostly from Jimbo’s viewpoint, as he continually slips into reveries of the past with Emily. Although they hadn’t seen each other for so many years, they easily take up their friendship where they left off, immediately comfortable with each other and their relationship.

There is no real plot here, but rather a portrayal of the kind of friendship that can last a lifetime, despite years of separation. This day is a pause in the life, an idyll, the kind of day one relishes with a best friend and remembers for the rest of one’s life. Orff’s scratchy illustrations on heavy, dark backgrounds reinforce the idea of fond remembrance, as the reader focuses on Emily and Jimbo. It’s a beautifully quiet, subtle, emotionally deep book, and one finishes it with a sense of having been right there with the two friends. Adults will appreciate this book more, but thoughtful older teens looking forward to the end of high school and coming to their own crossroads may also appreciate Waterwise. Jimbo’s initial drawing of his old girlfriend and the nude woman he and Emily build out of sand are the only elements a high school library needs to consider; public libraries are highly encouraged to buy this for their collections.