Saturday, January 04, 2014

Bad Houses by Sara Ryan

Bad Houses is a graphic novel about six people and the way their lives intersect. The first two are Catherine and Lewis - a mother and son team who put together estate sales. Then Anne enters the picture, a young woman who visits the estate sale and hits it off with Lewis. Another visitor to the estate sales is Fred who goes around finding things to resell in his store. The last two people in the story are Danica - Anne's mother - and A.J. who meets Danica when he drops his mother off at an assisted living home. Anne struggles throughout this graphic novel with the appeal of estate sales and seeing people's memories and her own mother's inability to let go of material goods. Danica is basically a hoarder, forcing Anne to live that lifestyle. When A.J. enters Danica's life, she seems to clean up her act, but really just shifts the mess into Anne's space. Anne learns from Lewis the the homes of hoarders are considered to people running estate sales as "Bad Houses," which leaves her wondering what that says about her family. In the meantime, A.J. is just trying to make it through life, and a past connection between Catherine and Fred is revealed. This graphic novel explores our connection to things - both emotional and physical - and the way we both hold onto things or choose to let go.

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