Review: The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg
Originally published as three separate novels by DC in 2007, this one is a whopping 470 pages and, unusually for a graphic novel, it took me three days to read. Fortunately, it was worth every moment. This book has a lot to say about the capacity of art to transform lives. Jane's growth as a young woman who is a victim of a horrible act to someone who is willing to take the ultimate stand to fight for what she believes in, is pleasing to watch. Of course, there are plenty of setbacks along the way--disapproving adults, a not-relationship with the boy she likes, post traumatic stress, and a new and very talented art student at the school who just doesn't understand what Jane is trying to do--which is further compounded by the fact that some of her constructive criticism is spot on.
This is an enjoyable read. And though it is set in high school and there is a focus on all of the usual adolescent concerns, this will appeal to anyone who believes in the power of art, particularly public art, to transform neighbourhoods and even lives.