November 11, 2011

Louis Riel - A Must Read For All Canadians

The graphic novel is particularly effective when used to cover historical events. Unlike your typical history textbook, the graphic novel facilitates the breakdown of complicated subject matter into a series of engaging cartoon drawings.  The flow of images and limited text accentuate the root cause of historical events and their aftermaths.   The result is a story that separates the forests from the trees.  Louis Riel by Chester Brown is one of the best examples of this genre.  
The author describes the events leading up to Louis Riel’s arrest for treason and eventual execution in 1885.  The careful notes and bibliography are proof that the author researched his subject extensively.  Along with the accurate account of events, the eye catching drawings, Brown captures the human emotions.  Many times I felt anger, shame and dismay as the story unfolded.  The author didn’t tell me to feel this way. It was the manner in which he presented the facts.  He allows the reader to make his/her own judgement call as the events unfold.  A must read for every Canadian and sure to stir debate in any Grade 9 history class. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will be for picked for the CBC’s CanadaReads program in 2012. 
Overall Rating *****  (4 stars out of 5)

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