The Lie and How We Told It by Tommi Parish (2018)

L: 5/10

M: 2/10

Analysis from a general aversion to feeling one way or another:

The first page turns of The Lie and How We Told It was tough to swallow. I tend to lean more towards traditional art styles in comics, and the pages in this story are far from that. At first, panels seem unfinished and very crudely constructed. The harshness fades slightly as you pass further into the story, but it always remains. No facial expressions are ever clear, and head shapes vary from one extreme to another. It definitely has it’s own style and one I’ve never come across before in my travels. The only thing within reach of comparison would be a disheveled version of Stinky Cheese Man.

I enjoyed the story despite my hurdles with the art delivering it. Everyone grows old and has memories that end up not being as shiny as we remember them. When you are confronted with them in the real world, and they bring up some compressed and buried feelings, then the shine blinds to the point of migraine. Contacts weaken and binds fray. That is just a part of life. The Lie and How We Told It gets the point across without stabbing you in the back of the head about it. Over the duration of a walk home, one filled with various levels of painful silence, two estranged friends walk back the steps they once lived. The stones within they walk have two sides, and the sadness within they currently reside are all brought back to focus. A book found in the bushes tells a story within a story, and the depression with reality is poured in every direction.

This is a bleak story that should probably be relatable in some way to anyone who reads it. The feelings shaken loose may not be ones that you’d find enjoyable, but not everything can be radioactive spider powers and gamma bombs. While not a book I’d display on my limited bookshelf allotment of space, this is still something worth reading through a couple of times and maybe even stirring up some shit.

Analysis from that one shoelace that keeps fraying:

I think I just don’t get it. Reading this was like my worst nightmare scenario of trying to catch up with an old friend, but there being nothing but awkwardness and long lulls in an already painful conversation. I read this through in maybe twenty minutes because I just needed it all to end.

Now I can see how this story might be important and hit home with someone who has been through the same things or shared a similar situation. Had I ever struggled with my sexuality, I might have very well been touched and felt heard by someone putting some of my feelings to paper and validating my insecurities. Truthfully the story just isn’t for me or about me though I can see it’s value.
Now admittedly, I am visually inclined. I like to be lost in the art of a story and have the rhetoric fill in the blanks. Based on the cover art, I had high hopes, but as it turned out, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I can see there is a tremendous talent behind the visuals, but it’s not my taste. Distinguishing between sexes was difficult, which made the storyline a little difficult to follow at times. Though perhaps that was purposefully planned. There was a story within a story and the black and white art of that was right up my alley.
All things considered, perhaps this is a literary masterpiece, but I am not it’s intended audience.

Tommi Parish

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