Sometimes you just enter a bookstore and a book calls out for you. You did not plan on buying it, you never even heard of it, and yet it pulls you into her like the butterflies pull to the light. It's dangerous and yet you wish for it. You take the book into your arms and that is the fatal moment... you cannot simply let it go and you wish to take it home with you. That happens to me quite often. I love books and they call out to me and it is hard saying no to them. After all, they wish for a home of their own. They wish to make people experience emotions and they wish to stay on your shelve. One such fine book was for me Marzi by Marzena Sowa (Sowa means owl in Polish, and very fitting as the book is full of hidden wisdom from this lovely lady).
You could not tell that it is either a book or a comic book... It is something in between. It's a little girls story about the world that surrounded her as a child. It is written from the heart and it manages to touch the points that we think of as adults, when we remember our childhood. “I am Marzi, born in 1979, ten years before the end of communism in Poland. My father works at a factory, my mother at a dairy. Social problems are at their height. Empty stores are our daily bread. I’m scared of spiders and the world of adults doesn’t seem like a walk in the park.”
Told from a young girl’s perspective, Marzena Sowa’s memoir of a childhood shaped by politics feels remarkably fresh and immediate. Structured as a series of vignettes that build on one another, Marzi is a compelling and powerful coming-of-age story that portrays the harsh realities of life behind the Iron Curtain while maintaining the everyday wonders and curiosity of childhood. With open and engaging art by Sylvain Savoia, Marzi is a moving and resonant story of an ordinary girl in turbulent, changing times.
Now living in France, Marzena Sowa looks back at her past, at her roots, and with the help of her significant other manages to bring to life her own self, in the younger version. The book I have contains the series of the first 4 comic books she published in France. The original publication has been in 5 different volumes but I am truly happy I found this version where they are (almost) all in one. In gallery form, paperback, from Vertigo, it is very lightweighted. The color palette is limited but truly I can say that Sylvain Savoia (the ilustrator of the book) did wonders! My version has 240 pages but I did not read it all at once. The book deserves at least a few sittings and it is lovely and warm hearted and sincere that you really wish you would not finish it.
The story, told from a childs perspective is wonderful! Done in small vignettes you can take smaller portions and not a mouthful. Pick and choose as much as you can swallow, as you will come back earning for more. When I finished Marzi I wanted yet another story. I wanted to know more of her childhood. I wanted to know how her dreams came true and how she ended up in France. Her name was all a dream (marzen = dreams, in Polish language) and she was a dreamer. Though times were hard she manages to make you smile and see how people could be happy from little things. She makes you see how inventive and creative children were back then, without TV/Internet/Computer Games and what-not's. I recommend everyone to read it, and enjoy it. Especially if you were part of the Communist Block, you will appreciate and understand it even more. So I say you run and order the book now, and let me know how you feel about it! :)
A LadyBug Who Liked Marzi Very Much