FLYING KITES by The Stanford Graphic Novel Project

I felt emotional about this book within a few pages. The isolation that the main guy, Rodrigo, feels is so real. The drawings are raw. Looking right at him while he’s locked up feels kinda crazy because of his isolation. He’s been in solitary confinement for ten years.

That topic is the priority of the book–how inhumane long-term solitary confinement is (meaning beyond a day or two). Flying Kites models the actual size of the room is (like a handicap bathroom), the fact that he hasn’t seen a blade of grass, how much he clings to written words.

There were other good details too about what it’s like for his daughter to visit, like bringing extra clothes with you in the car or losing cell service. Her story could have been better developed but yea she’s a young working college student who is detached but sad about her dad.

Her dad has a different pain. He’s sad and mad. He holds in his boiling rage for his situation to avoid being physically assaulted and/or violently relocated. It’s wild. I think this book is effective at persuading you to see how inhumane prison is, which is why I wish they did a better job in the final 1/3 of the book in being abolitionist instead of being so jarringly reformist.

-Rachel Wagner


My books: 
– Jacob’s Hip: Poems
– FEM: New Millennium Beauty & Fashion
– Abandonment Issues: Alive in New Jersey
– Back Like I Never Left: Dating as a Single Mother

My bookstore: Ten Dollar Books

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