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Rosalie Lightning is Eisner-nominated cartoonist Tom Hart's #1 New York Times bestselling touching and beautiful graphic memoir about the untimely death of his young daughter, Rosalie. His heart-breaking and emotional illustrations strike readers to the core, and take them along his family's journey through loss. Hart uses the graphic form to articulate his and his wife's Rosalie Lightning is Eisner-nominated cartoonist Tom Hart's #1 New York Times bestselling touching and beautiful graphic memoir about the untimely death of his young daughter, Rosalie. His heart-breaking and emotional illustrations strike readers to the core, and take them along his family's journey through loss. Hart uses the graphic form to articulate his and his wife's on-going search for meaning in the aftermath of Rosalie's death, exploring themes of grief, hopelessness, rebirth, and eventually finding hope again. Hart creatively portrays the solace he discovers in nature, philosophy, great works of literature, and art across all media in this expressively honest and loving tribute to his baby girl. Rosalie Lighting is a graphic masterpiece chronicling a father's undying love.


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Rosalie Lightning is Eisner-nominated cartoonist Tom Hart's #1 New York Times bestselling touching and beautiful graphic memoir about the untimely death of his young daughter, Rosalie. His heart-breaking and emotional illustrations strike readers to the core, and take them along his family's journey through loss. Hart uses the graphic form to articulate his and his wife's Rosalie Lightning is Eisner-nominated cartoonist Tom Hart's #1 New York Times bestselling touching and beautiful graphic memoir about the untimely death of his young daughter, Rosalie. His heart-breaking and emotional illustrations strike readers to the core, and take them along his family's journey through loss. Hart uses the graphic form to articulate his and his wife's on-going search for meaning in the aftermath of Rosalie's death, exploring themes of grief, hopelessness, rebirth, and eventually finding hope again. Hart creatively portrays the solace he discovers in nature, philosophy, great works of literature, and art across all media in this expressively honest and loving tribute to his baby girl. Rosalie Lighting is a graphic masterpiece chronicling a father's undying love.

30 review for Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    I have been sitting on writing a review of this book for a few days. In part because all the early reviews call it brilliant and well, I feel sorry for the guy, because he lost his two year old daughter and it seems downright mean to say anything other than all the praise that has been heaped on this book. Why turn critic on a guy in grief? Tom Hart and his also comics artist wife Leela Corman had a magical time with Rosalie, their daughter, until she suddenly and unexpectedly died around the I have been sitting on writing a review of this book for a few days. In part because all the early reviews call it brilliant and well, I feel sorry for the guy, because he lost his two year old daughter and it seems downright mean to say anything other than all the praise that has been heaped on this book. Why turn critic on a guy in grief? Tom Hart and his also comics artist wife Leela Corman had a magical time with Rosalie, their daughter, until she suddenly and unexpectedly died around the age of two. They don't know why. As one can only imagine, this was devastating for them. And the loss of a child is common enough for enough readers to be able to relate to it. Or for most of us who have suffered the death of a family member or something like that. It’s maybe not similar enough to say “I feel your exact pain,” but I have a son who was in some sense lost to severe autism after being apparently normal until he was three. Late onset autism they call it. He was also identified as lead-poisoned. We don’t know how any of this might have happened, and we spun out of control in rage and grief for years because of it, and no, you never quite get over it. And I'm not trying to equate one kind of experience to another. All this is just to say terrible things happen, and one of the virtues of art is that it can help you cope, it can function as therapy, as healing. Nature can help, friends can help, time heals, and so on. Solace is needed, and books like this can point you to how to get some. They can be the solace. We need these books when we are suffering; like a blog, or a listserv, we can talk to others who have suffered as we have. Sharing grief. Helping each other heal. I’m not cynical about that, I read a ton of books about autism when my son was in the steepest time of his regression, when he was losing language on a daily basis, and I recommend reading books as a way of coping with almost everything. And this is surely one good book for those who are grieving, for those who can relate. I do think it can help. And I do think it is good to see what story and memoir can do to help you heal, even if you haven’t lost a child. Because over time all of us will suffer, one way or the other, and you will need to know how to weather a range of storms as you live this life. I mean, in some ways nothing can fully prepare you for the death of a loved one, but I do think much of the (especially literary) reading I have not about grief and loss has helped me personally prepare for the times when they happened. Such as Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Illych,” for instance. Maybe a little preparation, at least? Graphic memoirs about grief I have read in the past year or two include Willy Linthout’s The Years of the Elephant (about the suicide of his adult son), and his sequel, What We Need to Know (a sort of darkly funny dysfunctional family memoir about coping and failing to cope with grief}; Anders Nilsen’s Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow (not really entirely comics, but an album of and about Nilsen’s loss of his girlfriend from cancer); Naming Monsters by Hannah Eaton (about coping with the loss of her mother at seventeen, where suddenly monsters appear everywhere in her life, mythical beasts). I suppose Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home might in part be described in part as a graphic memoir about the grief of losing her father, though it doesn’t feel so much like conventional grieving. But you could say it is her way of dealing with her grief. Not everyone falls apart; not every cries. It's an unusual grieving story. And there’s so many non-graphic memoirs about grief, like Joan Didion’s tale of her lost husband, The Year of Magical Thinking, detailing the rage and alienation and disorientation and near-madness she feels. Too many similar stories to recount. Rosalie Lightning is the only graphic memoir about the loss of a child I can recall. It was difficult to read and how can I criticize how he chose to express his grief? That said, I might have hoped for a little less detail of all their financial issues, their car and house ownership troubles, as they grieved. The book moves predictably from despair to hope, as most such books do, and this is good, because we need to hope. But because I have read a lot of books about grief, now, I tend to step back and look for unconventional tales. Formal surprises. Willy Linthout’s style in The Years of the Elephant is strange and disorienting, the path to healing is less sure than Hart's, and the artistic style reflects the disorientation he feels. Hallucinations he experiences, separations from people. Some of this is there in Hart's tale, surely, he represents grief in his artistic choices, and it's good, but less edgy than in Linthout. I guess I just think this Linthout's is a more interesting and unique way of illustrating his grief than what I experience with Hart, who regularly shares with us (maybe it's really more for himself and his wife?) favorite expressions and toys and images of Rosalie, a girl whose loss we can’t feel as much as he does, of course. I’m not criticizing Hart here so much as talking about artistic preferences. And not trying to be hardhearted or mean. Eaton in her memoir, also by contrast, sees monsters everywhere in her grief. It’s a kind of metaphor or analogy for grief, living with these mythical beasts and ghosts, and she must "name" these monsters to move on. It’s so interesting that her grief manifests itself in monsters. I guess I just prefer more analogical or poetic expressions of grief than Hart's somewhat (to me, anyway) raw straightforward version. I dunno, I guess maybe I am just hard on tales of hardship. I want them to surprise me and not just be cathartic. The art and telling of Hart's tale is cathartic, I am sure for him and those in similar situations. Comics saves Hart. Maybe they will save many of us. Hart’s art and story are well done, just less startling to me. I want an arc that tells me something or shows me something I don't already know. But if you have lost a child, you have already stopped reading my review and you are already reading his book, I hope. As you should do. I wish you solace and balm from grief, and hope.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Until you experience it there is no way to really conceptualize what it feels like to lose a child. Really there's no way to conceptualize losing a loved one period until you've gone through it. I think that's because of all the emotions we experience grief is the one that is truly the most personal and thus subjective. No one grieves in exactly the same way. I know there are supposed to be stages and we all cry of course but the way we experience and express loss and grief strikes me as unique Until you experience it there is no way to really conceptualize what it feels like to lose a child. Really there's no way to conceptualize losing a loved one period until you've gone through it. I think that's because of all the emotions we experience grief is the one that is truly the most personal and thus subjective. No one grieves in exactly the same way. I know there are supposed to be stages and we all cry of course but the way we experience and express loss and grief strikes me as unique to the individual as a finger print. Tom Hart, the author of this unique, bleak memoir, lost his beloved daughter Rosalie before she turned two years old. One day he was reveling in the bright chaos only a toddler can create and the next day she was gone. Hart and his wife spend the majority of the book in a gloom shrouded quest for answers. Why was Rosalie taken? How long will they feel the pain of her passing? What do they do now? That they know they will never find any answers makes their story all the more gut wrenching for the reader. They travel to a grief retreat and spend weeks staying with friends around the country but they do it in a haze, like zombies going through the motions of a half remembered former life. Everything is a reminder of what they've lost or a portent they should have recognized that might have saved her. A great deal of the story's impact derives from Hart's focus on the little things. The frustration of trying to sell their apartment is a major focus in the narrative and ends up being a powerful symbol of the helplessness and sense of losing all control of their lives they're already experiencing. He notes the first time he touches a child after Rosalie's dies, the first night he doesn't sleep with her picture under his pillow, the first book he brings himself to read. He writes about the dreams he and his wife and even their friends have about Rosalie. Hart's art work is as bleak as the story he's sharing. His grief is black and white and full of people with empty eyes standing in perpetual, inky shadow. Hart and his wife seem to almost disappear at times into dark, scratched out portraits so distorted its occasionally hard to make out their features. Rosalie is the only character ever depicted in a joyful way. She is fat and full of smiles and surrounded by light the way she will doubtless remain in the memories of her parents. There's an unfinished feel to many of the scenes like they're being recalled from a half remembered dream or as if they're meant to convey the fading of memories over time. This is not one of those books that you review and say "it made me want to hold my children and never let them go." It almost feels like it would insulting to say that when discussing such a raw and uncensored portrait of pain. I have trouble with any literature that focuses on terrible things happening to children but this was not one of those reads. Perhaps because it is not a story about what happened to Rosalie. Its a story of two lives torn to pieces by her death. I can relate to the fear of losing a child but as Hart says toward the end of the story the worst thing that could possibly happen to him has already happened so I didn't feel fear or even anxiety for my own children because he is past that point. The horrible thing, the death of his child, has already happened. It doesn't get any worse because it can't. This is probably one of the most profound things I've read in a long time. This is grief turned into poetry and goofy cartoons of a bubbly child with bright smiles who loved "My Neighbor Totoro" and watching turtles and doing water color. Can there be a stronger testament to how much this man loved his child then sharing the pain her leaving him caused? Because that's what this book is really about. The indescribable love of a parent for his child seen through the sorrow of the aftermath of her death. The saddest love story I think I've ever read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The grief in this book tore out my heart. The tears were streaming down my face, but the emotion can never compare to what Tom Hart and his wife went through after the sudden and unexpected death of their daughter Rosalie. The author reflects on his memories of his daughter during the last few weeks of her little life. All the things she said, her drawings, the events she was apart of...all the accumulative retrospect that leads to crippling what if's, regret, and guilt. I can't imagine my son The grief in this book tore out my heart. The tears were streaming down my face, but the emotion can never compare to what Tom Hart and his wife went through after the sudden and unexpected death of their daughter Rosalie. The author reflects on his memories of his daughter during the last few weeks of her little life. All the things she said, her drawings, the events she was apart of...all the accumulative retrospect that leads to crippling what if's, regret, and guilt. I can't imagine my son no longer being in my life. I don't think I could go on, seriously. I can't even think about it. But Tom Hart gathered all of his thoughts and experiences related to Rosalie's life and death and offered them to the masses. His very personal journey through the depths of despair is painfully raw and honest and slowly leads to light at the end. Rosalie is gone but never forgotten and life and love continues. I am in awe at the generosity Tom Hart must possess to release Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir. I hope this helps families all over who have suffered such loss as well.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dylan Horrocks

    I can't recommend this book enough. A deep breath, a slow opening of the soul, a gift of love. The final sequence is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. I could feel my heart unfolding, unclenching. Tom Hart's been quietly making a mark in comics for more than twenty years: from his beautiful, poetic mini-comics in the 1990s to the smart, funny and deeply political Hutch Owen; The Sands; Daddy Lightning; Banks/Eubanks, etc etc. And for many years he's also been teaching - supporting I can't recommend this book enough. A deep breath, a slow opening of the soul, a gift of love. The final sequence is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. I could feel my heart unfolding, unclenching. Tom Hart's been quietly making a mark in comics for more than twenty years: from his beautiful, poetic mini-comics in the 1990s to the smart, funny and deeply political Hutch Owen; The Sands; Daddy Lightning; Banks/Eubanks, etc etc. And for many years he's also been teaching - supporting and inspiring another generation of cartoonists to "cartoon like you mean it." Tom's one of the most interesting cartoonists around. He's slowly built a body of work that's innovative and experimental in a way that's maybe less obvious to casual readers, but rewards countless re-reads. There's an aesthetic sensibility at work in his comics that's unique and powerful, and it's been consistent from the very beginning. His work is like no-one else's. I think his importance and influence have been under-recognised - something I hope is about to change with this extraordinary, unforgettable book. Rosalie Lightning is a landmark book: the culmination of Tom's craft and his whole approach to cartooning as a potent, personal, intimate artform. It's viscerally powerful, deceptively simple and direct, honest and heartfelt and generous. There are layers of complexity and depth in this book, and a raw intensity that won't be denied. It's a book about why we live and why we make art. I know the subject will frighten some people away, but there's really no need. It's the most loving, joyful, real comic I've read in a long time. A masterpiece. It deserves to be read, discussed, and studied for years to come.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Etienne

    A very emotional graphic novel. This book is an homage from the author to his dead daughter that die when she was almost 2 years old. All in simplicity the author goes through the even and his grief process. Very touching and beautiful at the same time. Sad but worth reading!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Charles Hatfield

    READ THIS BOOK. // Comics don't often move me. That's a hell of a thing to say, coming from one who has staked a big chunk of his life and work on reading and talking up comics. It's true, comics engage and amuse me, often spark my thinking, often delight my eye, and sometimes thrill me. It's true that I enjoy reading them in ways that I find hard to put into words. But relatively few comics have pulled belly laughs out of me, and even fewer, far fewer, have moved me to tears, or to the point READ THIS BOOK. // Comics don't often move me. That's a hell of a thing to say, coming from one who has staked a big chunk of his life and work on reading and talking up comics. It's true, comics engage and amuse me, often spark my thinking, often delight my eye, and sometimes thrill me. It's true that I enjoy reading them in ways that I find hard to put into words. But relatively few comics have pulled belly laughs out of me, and even fewer, far fewer, have moved me to tears, or to the point where I felt emotion cresting and overtaking me. In that category I'd put Spiegelman's MAUS, Brabner, Pekar, and Stack's OUR CANCER YEAR, Beto's PALOMAR, Xaime's LOCAS, Tyler's SOLDIER'S HEART, Nilsen's DON'T GO WHERE I CAN'T FOLLOW, Schulz's PEANUTS, and precious few others. // Tom Hart's ROSALIE LIGHTNING is one of those books, and since I read it last night has instantly become one of my most treasured examples of graphic memoir. It is That Book: one that *un*trains you in the medium and teaches you the medium all over again. One that kicks your ass round the room while you pore over it in perfect stillness and silence. One that sets your heart shivering and makes you hug the damn thing to you when you're done. // A story of deepest grief, of emotional and spiritual confusion and hard journeying, of a midnight-dark passage through something that most of us would hope never to experience -- and yet a book that never succumbs to true despair, to stasis and soul-death and mere settling. No. No cynicism or collapse here. Hart has conjured a deeply affirming, life-valuing, goddammit-this-did-really-happen-but-I'm-going-to-live-it-and-make-art-out-of-it Book of Books. // Not just a raw record of pained lived through and absorbed into life, this is one of the most artful, creatively risk-taking graphic books I've read in a long time, braided with exquisite care, searchingly ever-changing in form and technique, artistically and textually protean, adaptive, awake, and alive. // READ THIS COMIC. It wrung me out like a rag, and I'm glad of it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    In November 2011, Rosalie, the daughter of cartoonists Tom Hart and Leela Corman, died suddenly, before the age of two. Rosalie Lightning is Hart's beautiful, elegiac tribute to her short life, an account of the months surrounding the terrible event. In fragmented, poetic fashion, he sifts through the rubble of devastating grief, looking for answers, searching for solace, and finding little (Your best memories are your biggest torments.). Eventually he reaches a sort of shaky peace and moves In November 2011, Rosalie, the daughter of cartoonists Tom Hart and Leela Corman, died suddenly, before the age of two. Rosalie Lightning is Hart's beautiful, elegiac tribute to her short life, an account of the months surrounding the terrible event. In fragmented, poetic fashion, he sifts through the rubble of devastating grief, looking for answers, searching for solace, and finding little (“Your best memories are your biggest torments.”). Eventually he reaches a sort of shaky peace and moves slowly forward. Hart, a veteran cartoonist who currently runs the Sequential Artist’s Workshop in Gainesville, Florida, is an inventive and visionary creator. His drawings display as much spontaneity and verve as ever, energizing and illuminating the somber narrative. Throughout, he references his inspirations: artists as disparate as Laurie Anderson, Hayao Miyazaki, Werner Herzog, and Akira Kurosawa, underscoring his message of the power of art to help process, understand, and accept the burden of great loss. Rosalie Lightning is a raw, uncompromising work, full of sorrow and occasional despair, yet ultimately uplifting, suffused with great love and warmth for little Rosalie.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emilia P

    I have...an ARC of this to review for a great publication right now. I am avoiding writing that review, because no review can do justice to how powerful this book is. Suffice it to say, it is pretty amazing, and gut-wrenching, and challenging, and a NECESSARY READ. I wish it could hurry up and come out for everyone, but it is SO WORTH THE WAIT guys. Pre-order it, get yourself on the library holds list while it's still "on order". Just. Read It.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lorilin

    I don't usually read graphic novels, but the description of Rosalie Lightning caught my attention, so here I am. I can't believe how powerful this book is. It is stunning. Heartbreaking. The text is incredible on its own, but coupled with the pictures...I mean, there are no words to describe it. Reading this book is pure feeling. All you do is experience the author's pain along with him. Some of my favorite parts: The part where he talks to a pregnant woman right after his baby dies, and he I don't usually read graphic novels, but the description of Rosalie Lightning caught my attention, so here I am. I can't believe how powerful this book is. It is stunning. Heartbreaking. The text is incredible on its own, but coupled with the pictures...I mean, there are no words to describe it. Reading this book is pure feeling. All you do is experience the author's pain along with him. Some of my favorite parts: The part where he talks to a pregnant woman right after his baby dies, and he describes himself, draws himself, as shattered obsidian. The part where he draws "Images You'll Get Used to While Grieving Your Lost Child: crackers, fruits, and meats in little gift boxes; oranges peeled, never eaten; your spouse on the ground; you on the ground." The part where he describes his past (a sketch of his baby playing in the grass), his present (a sketch of him wide- and bleary-eyed on the ground), his future (a solid square of blackness). The many parts where he shows what his child was like--and then what she could have been, but will never be. So basically, I cried. A lot. There is light at the end of this book--or maybe I should say growth. I love the last story Hart shares. In fact, I was surprised by the solidly--almost defiantly--hopeful ending. (Maybe Hart was, too?) My heart goes out to him and his wife. I hope they find peace (and at least a little bit of joy) after such a horrible tragedy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Bogart

    I expected to be emotionally destroyed by this book, but I did not expect to be so impressed by its formal qualities that halfway through I almost forgot to wallow in second-hand grief and instead luxuriated in the beautiful simplicity and technical accomplishment of the visual choices. Tom Hart's always been a cartoonist's cartoonist, a Zen trickster who can wring a surprising amount of meaning out of rhythm and scribble (only they're not really two different things, they're scribble-in-rhythm, I expected to be emotionally destroyed by this book, but I did not expect to be so impressed by its formal qualities that halfway through I almost forgot to wallow in second-hand grief and instead luxuriated in the beautiful simplicity and technical accomplishment of the visual choices. Tom Hart's always been a cartoonist's cartoonist, a Zen trickster who can wring a surprising amount of meaning out of rhythm and scribble (only they're not really two different things, they're scribble-in-rhythm, the foundational element on which all the rest of the comics medium has been built). But the degree to which his graphic vocabulary has become infinitely more sophisticated, even as he sticks to the simplified grammar of old-school minicomics, caught me unprepared. The book is a memoir of a relatively short period in his and his wife's (cartoonist Leela Corman) life: the months leading up to, and the year following, the death of their two-year-old daughter in 2011. It's also, necessarily, a sort of catalog of the art -- music, film, literature, painting, and naturally comics -- that they encounter, or turn to, in the process of remembering and grieving. If that doesn't sound like something you want to read, I guess I can understand that, but what could easily be either numbingly maudlin or gracelessly self-involved in the hands of other, even other very great, cartoonists, is handled with such exceptional deftness, honesty, and patience by Hart that it feels much more like a complete work of art than like the visually-uninspired self-conscious slog that comics memoir has come to mean in the last decade or so. To some degree this can perhaps be attributed to the Asian influences in Hart's philosophy and, more importantly, craft. I don't think I've seen a more successful synthesis of US and Japanese approaches to comics, ever, and I couldn't quite shake the feeling, which began growing on me about halfway through, that it represents a turning-point in the medium itself. The choppy, ragged line used for most of the book is descended from Gary Panter (it's a change from the more cuddly-crude style Hart became known for some fifteen years ago, used in this book to depict the past, cartoons, dreams, and a recurrent metaphor), and his narrating rhythms are the standard indie-autobio Pekar-via-Schulz rhythms that Chester Brown popularized in the 80s, but the contemplative, unhurried panel layouts, the use of abstraction to represent emotion, and the lush grayscale tones giving the images weight and body are all pure manga. I very much doubt I'm going to read a better comic this year; I almost certainly won't read a more emotionally affecting one. Because of course I was, as expected, emotionally destroyed by this book. I was also, most unexpectedly, and indefinably, healed by it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Siepel

    How do I even begin to describe this book? It is like soul spilled on paper. The graphic novel is so very real and transparent that I found my heart breaking in million times over. Yet through this terrible, tragic journey there is the joy named Rosalie and the strength and tenderness of Tom and Leela's relationship. Reading this took my breath away and punched me in the stomach. And I would read it again.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Heart breaking. I never realized when I picked this book up at the library it would be about the death of the authors little girl, I knew nothing of it other then it was a graphic memoir. I cried the entire book and all I could think was 'I can not wait for my little girl to come home this evening, I need to hug her'. My heart aches for those who have lost their children.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    4/5stars Well this was probably the most depressing story Ive read in my entire life. Trigger warnings for the death of a child and a very deep discussion of said death 4/5stars Well this was probably the most depressing story I’ve read in my entire life. Trigger warnings for the death of a child and a very deep discussion of said death

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    This is a tough book to review as I have very mixed feelings about it. Death, and the grief that accompanies it is very personal, but also very universal. It is the one thing that all humans have in common. We will die. And people we love will die. This graphic memoir is about the death of a daughter at the age of two. Rosalie's death is unexpected, and I can imagine maybe all the more devastating for it. In this memoir, the author takes us through the emotional and physical journey he and his This is a tough book to review as I have very mixed feelings about it. Death, and the grief that accompanies it is very personal, but also very universal. It is the one thing that all humans have in common. We will die. And people we love will die. This graphic memoir is about the death of a daughter at the age of two. Rosalie's death is unexpected, and I can imagine maybe all the more devastating for it. In this memoir, the author takes us through the emotional and physical journey he and his wife go through as they struggle to deal with the aftermath of Rosalie's death. And here is where I am conflicted. Why do we read books, especially memoirs? I think it is different for each reader, but I read to either be entertained or educated, preferably both. I am not a parent, and I can only imagine that the death of a child might be the most devastating loss that can be inflicted on a parent, but, while I think this a wonderful record for the author's family, particularly their second child, I felt at too much of a remove while reading it. I'm not a fan of the sketchy, black and white art, and that did not help either. Does that make me a psychopath? I don't think so. I appreciated the effort of the author as he worked through his grief, but was also left with nothing I could really hold on to, unlike various other grief memoirs that have stayed me with over the years. Joan Didion's, The Year of Magical Thinking, comes to mind as an example. So while I did not love it, I did appreciate the author's honesty in the telling of this life changing moment for his family.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Suad Shamma

    I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, and I don't want to be this horrible unfeeling person, but this book made me feel nothing. I wanted to feel the grief, and the sadness and the heartbreak, but there was just something about the way it was written, the way it was illustrated, the way he went on about his dreams, and went on about the financial issues and the house not being sold and his wife's book deadline that took so much away from the actual grief, the actual death of his only I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, and I don't want to be this horrible unfeeling person, but this book made me feel nothing. I wanted to feel the grief, and the sadness and the heartbreak, but there was just something about the way it was written, the way it was illustrated, the way he went on about his dreams, and went on about the financial issues and the house not being sold and his wife's book deadline that took so much away from the actual grief, the actual death of his only child. I have a daughter myself, and she's around Rosalie's age, so I thought this would break me. I thought I was going to be in tears, but I was surprised to find myself...bored. I really feel bad saying this, and almost feel like I shouldn't be saying it, but I just had expected to relate more to a parent's loss. I'm a little puzzled at how little this book affected me.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    Sobbing. Told with such power. This book, even Rosalie herself, reaches in, grabs your heart, and rips it out.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kelli Trei

    Took a bit to write this review. This book wrecked me, took me back to losing a family member. It's good, honest, true, but it's hard.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Loring Wirbel

    I'm grateful my wife raved so much about this singular graphic novel, because in a simple and direct way, it confronts the kind of grief that becomes a bottomless pit, a hole at the center of a life. Certainly, many of us have mourned the loss of parents, grandparents, or a beloved pet, but there is something particularly meaningless and final about the unexplained death of a young child. Hart takes us on travels from New York to Gainesville to rural New Mexico as he tries to find a way to I'm grateful my wife raved so much about this singular graphic novel, because in a simple and direct way, it confronts the kind of grief that becomes a bottomless pit, a hole at the center of a life. Certainly, many of us have mourned the loss of parents, grandparents, or a beloved pet, but there is something particularly meaningless and final about the unexplained death of a young child. Hart takes us on travels from New York to Gainesville to rural New Mexico as he tries to find a way to transcend or get past his grief. When well-meaning friends suggest sweat lodges or spiritual ceremonies, Hart is never sarcastic or dismissive, but simply describes these events as they are. This book is filled with mysticism, from its reliance on Night Salad (Louis) as Rosalie's favorite bedtime story, to its borrowing of Kurosawa themes, to its use of lyrical snippets from Brian Eno and Laurie Anderson. But it also stays anchored in the real, and in this world, grief never is fully resolved. Hart does not try to bring this novel to a solid ending, but shows the slow transition of the images of Rosalie that are omnipresent and haunt him everywhere, to an eventual realization that Rosalie is in everything, and the presence in acorns and trees is her way of saying hello. A fine, fine work.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Allie

    Packed a similar emotional punch to Don't Go Where I Can't Follow. I didn't realize that Tom Hart was married to Leela Corman, who has also written some really powerful comics about the loss of their daughter. I think this hit be really hard because of the babies I know. My best friend just had a baby and Alicia's daughter is basically the same age as Rosalie when she died. Plus all the playgroup babies I see every week! It's hard not to think about those wonderful children when you read Packed a similar emotional punch to Don't Go Where I Can't Follow. I didn't realize that Tom Hart was married to Leela Corman, who has also written some really powerful comics about the loss of their daughter. I think this hit be really hard because of the babies I know. My best friend just had a baby and Alicia's daughter is basically the same age as Rosalie when she died. Plus all the playgroup babies I see every week! It's hard not to think about those wonderful children when you read something really tragic like this. Hart's drawing style is really textural, almost visceral. It's kind of at the other end of the drawing spectrum to Anders Nilsen's hyper-precise style. You can feel the ache in both.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    What is your worst nightmare? Mine, hands-down, is losing one of my children. I am sure I am not alone. Here, the author documents, the loss of his daughter, who dies suddenly, just before her 2nd birthday. Obviously, these parents are devastated and this shows the couple hit emotional rock-bottom and then gradually climb back to reclaim their lives. This is a graphic memoir, illustrated in a stark, unflinching style, which perfectly matches the tone of grief and isolation. It may not be an easy What is your worst nightmare? Mine, hands-down, is losing one of my children. I am sure I am not alone. Here, the author documents, the loss of his daughter, who dies suddenly, just before her 2nd birthday. Obviously, these parents are devastated and this shows the couple hit emotional rock-bottom and then gradually climb back to reclaim their lives. This is a graphic memoir, illustrated in a stark, unflinching style, which perfectly matches the tone of grief and isolation. It may not be an easy read but I admire Hart, for tackling this difficult and painful subject.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    As a huge graphic nonfiction reader, I saw this on the shelf at the library and decided to give it a go. Though I read it in one sitting, it just wasn't for me. The narrative jumps around quite a bit - something that shows the grieving process well - but ultimately made it harder to follow for me personally. Because of that - and maybe other things I can't put my finger on - I just couldn't get a connection with the story. While I didn't care for this book, I could see it being a good As a huge graphic nonfiction reader, I saw this on the shelf at the library and decided to give it a go. Though I read it in one sitting, it just wasn't for me. The narrative jumps around quite a bit - something that shows the grieving process well - but ultimately made it harder to follow for me personally. Because of that - and maybe other things I can't put my finger on - I just couldn't get a connection with the story. While I didn't care for this book, I could see it being a good recommendation for someone who enjoys reading deep personal memoirs but have maybe not considered the graphic format.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    This book was beautiful and so heartbreaking. I mean, beyond heartbreaking. How do you cope with the loss of your child? Or do you? Tom Hart is so open and honest with emotions, you can't help to be right there with him, feeling what he is feeling. Reading Rosalie Lightning was like stepping into someone's despair and watching them muddle their way out of it, slowly, painfully, and beautifully, if that makes sense? Anyway, I would definitely recommend it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Not a fan of the art style, but, man, what a gut wrenching read. This is the story of a couple dealing with the sudden death of their baby girl. Hart just lets it all out.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    I need more stars to give this book, it gets all the stars. It breaks my heart wide open.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    This book just broke my heart.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Jackson

    A raw, affecting, and masterfully told true story about the sudden loss of a child. Two year old Rosalie Lightning dies in her sleep one night without any warning. This graphic novel charts her parents' desperate journey to find reasons to continue on as their lives unravel. An unsentimental and utterly devastating story about grief. 4.5 stars

  27. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    This took me nearly two months to read it was so heartbreaking. The rawness of emotion was so hard to see on the page, but Im glad I did read it through to the end (for a minute there I nearly set it down for good, it was that powerful). It was clearly something the artist needed to get out of his system, and its good he has. The world needs more versions of peoples lives shared. This took me nearly two months to read it was so heartbreaking. The rawness of emotion was so hard to see on the page, but I’m glad I did read it through to the end (for a minute there I nearly set it down for good, it was that powerful). It was clearly something the artist needed to get out of his system, and it’s good he has. The world needs more versions of people’s lives shared.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    This absolutely shattered me in the best possible way.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Zedsdead

    A semi-lucid graphic biography of the author's daughter Rosalie--who suffered an untimely death at age two--and his own subsequent trainwreck of grief and despair. Rosalie Lightning was so bleak that at bedtime I switched to a GRRM book in which the heroes go mad and turn into ravening cannibals, so that I'd have an easier time falling asleep. This speaks to the power of Hart's story, I suppose. He mixes adorable anecdotes about Rosalie with glimpses of his despondence and hopelessness after her A semi-lucid graphic biography of the author's daughter Rosalie--who suffered an untimely death at age two--and his own subsequent trainwreck of grief and despair. Rosalie Lightning was so bleak that at bedtime I switched to a GRRM book in which the heroes go mad and turn into ravening cannibals, so that I'd have an easier time falling asleep. This speaks to the power of Hart's story, I suppose. He mixes adorable anecdotes about Rosalie with glimpses of his despondence and hopelessness after her pointless death. It meanders confusedly, maybe a bit poetically. And it wouldn't be entirely inaccurate to note that I may have found myself with (harrumph) slightly damp cheeks from time to time. Hart's drawings of Rosalie do a splendid job conveying her joy and exuberance, and his post-Rosalie illustrations are dark indeed. One page in particular stood out to me. He draws the same generic pretty nature scene once each in far, middle, and close focus, then ties those panels to depictions of his past, present, and future. The future panel is blurry and mostly black.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chris Blocker

    In many ways Rosalie Lightning is a powerful graphic memoir, but in as many ways it lacks the cohesion and beauty necessary to create a universally moving portrayal of loss. Clearly, this is an extremely personal work, so I'm hesitant to speak ill of it. Nor should I speak ill, as my only complaint about the book is a matter of perspective and all my other feelings toward the book are either positive or neutral. There are images in this memoir that I doubt will ever leave me (certainly, I will In many ways Rosalie Lightning is a powerful graphic memoir, but in as many ways it lacks the cohesion and beauty necessary to create a universally moving portrayal of loss. Clearly, this is an extremely personal work, so I'm hesitant to speak ill of it. Nor should I speak ill, as my only complaint about the book is a matter of perspective and all my other feelings toward the book are either positive or neutral. There are images in this memoir that I doubt will ever leave me (certainly, I will never look at a Corn Maze the same); Hart has done a fantastic job isolating some of Rosalie's most striking moments and making them light up on the page. It's the jumble of the story that I think keeps the reader at a distance. These are the thoughts of a grieving parent who is remembering the most warming and sorrowful moments of his daughter's life. It's an important work for him and his family. It's a beautiful tribute to a little girl. But it's perhaps a little too close to the loss to give the wider audience a proper perspective. This is a memoir of what happens on the inside of a person suffering loss. That's not a bad thing, by any means, but in a book such as this, I would guess that the hope is that the reader feels a strong attachment to the child, not so much to the dark turmoil of the author.

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