Growing up with music in the house, I used to love hearing my parents’ records play over our stereo. It would be something I do time to time, in fact, I am listening an old 45 of Art Porter right now as I write this record. I had one uncle that used to tell me all the time” Listen to the lyrics”. This advice I never quite heeded, until I got older, and hip hop came on the scene, this was when lyrics mattered to me the most. Of course, I know now that my uncle wasn’t talking about rap, but the records they played throughout the house.
One of those artists who my parents regularly amass in their massive record collection, were the Temptations, and the first record I heard from them, was “Smiling Faces Sometimes”. This was the first record I took apart word for word, and those lyrics spoke to so many situations” Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within/Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes/They don’t tell the truth uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces/Tell lies and I got proof/The truth is in the eyes/Cause the eyes don’t lie, amen/Remember a smile is just/A frown turned upside down/My friend let me tell you. That song would pop in my head, every time a situation, I saw fits it. In the excellent and heartbreaking graphic novel, Sour Apple, one such masquerade takes place between a husband and wife, where not everything is what it seems.
Within the first few panels, we meet our protagonist, a young lady who adores her husband, and seemingly is very happy. This is until one night where she came home late, when she confronts him after a drunken binder, where he starts acting irrationally and finally hits her. As most narcissists do, he apologizes and blames someone other than himself, which she accepts. Things don’t get better for the couple, as one night, she comes home, only to receive another beating from her husband, this time, he sexually assaults her. As time goes by, our protagonist despite the many indiscretions that her husband took, tries to make the marriage work, even becoming pregnant during this time. Eventually the beatings became longer and even more unbearable. By book’s end, our protagonist finds some solace that she knows what she is capable of and how far she will go, as she goes through another day, hoping the next day will be better.
Overall, an unflinching story that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. The story pulls you into a relationship which is all too common and should never be accepted. The story by Jerzy Szytak is unnerving, well written and emotion filled. The art by Joanna Karpowicz deserves to be in a museum, as it they are pleasant to the eye, and humanizes these characters. Altogether, a story that haunts you, as this happens way too often and are rarely told as eloquently.
Story: Jerzy Szytak Art: Joanna Karpowicz
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy