I have been wanting to write this review for so long, but I didn’t know how. How do you review something that was so good and so relevant and so necessary as these graphic novels? I don’t know that I’m going to get it right. It’s probably going to be less of a review and more of a gush. So anyway, I’m going to try to write this and not cry, because these were so good and so heartbreaking.
I had heard wonderful, raving things about these graphic novels before I purchased them. I was in the Atlanta airport with a long layover and wandered into a bookstore (as I tend to do). I saw a sign saying that John Lewis was going to be there signing them the following week, so I was looking specifically for all three volumes of March. They weren’t in the store, I was disappointed, so I left to go to the bathroom. And there they were, in a display case on the way to the bathroom (lol airports). So I went back to the bookstore and asked, and the sales guy took a copy of each out of the display case for me, and even though it was just the airport, I feel a little special knowing I can say that I bought all three volumes of March in Atlanta, where John Lewis actually lives. ❤
So, the three volumes of March. Where do I even begin? Obama’s inauguration is happening, and Obama thanks John Lewis for everything he did to make way for the future, and John Lewis decides he needs to document his time in the Civil Rights Movement in an accessible way. So he and one of his staff members write out the text for the graphic novels, and they find an amazing illustrator, and off they go.
We start with John Lewis’s childhood, and his dreams. As he’s growing up, he realizes that he’s not being treated fairly, and he wants to change it. So he is part of the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, and becomes one of the Big Six leaders who organized the March on Washington. So the graphic novel follows the events of the Civil Rights Movement from John Lewis’s perspective. His memory is awesome, and the details were heartbreaking, and the number of people who got killed makes me so so angry. I believe that everyone should be reading these graphic novels. They should be presented in history classes in school. They should be everywhere.
3 Things I Loved
- The insight into John Lewis’s life. As a millennial (although I hate admitting that I am, indeed, a millennial), I didn’t know a lot about John Lewis before reading this trilogy. I’d heard the name and knew who he was, but no details. This was illuminating. I loved it so much, and if I ever meet him, I hope I can give him a hug.
- The artwork. Nate Powell’s black and white artwork is amazing. There is no other word to describe it. He does such a good job.
- The honesty. A lot of the events of the Civil Rights Movement were bloody, and weren’t successful, and people made decisions that may not have been the right ones. But John Lewis did what he thought was right, and that is portrayed honestly. It’s just… it’s the best. You have to read it.
There was nothing problematic that I remember, and nothing I disliked other than this actually happened. This was real life. I hate that this is in our nation’s history at all.
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good!
- Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
If there is any series of books where all of the volumes are unicorns in existence, it’s this one. I was blown away, and horrified, and I think every single person in existence should be reading these graphic novels. Set aside what you know about graphic novels – these aren’t about super heroes and fictional worlds. They’re real, and they’re heartbreaking, and everyone needs to be reminded of our history. Therefore, I am giving all three volumes of March a PURPLE rating.
Go forth and read things with meaning,