Book #5

Four Women by Sam Kieth
Bev, Donna, Marion and Cindy set out driving to a wedding together..only they never make it. While driving through the desert, their car breaks down - and from that point, they end up taking an entirelt different kind of journey. A journey to hell and back, that cause them to question their friendship, their lives and themselves.
This graphic novel is a very quick read, but certainly plants some serious questions in the reader's mind. I finished the book in the space of half an hour last night, and it has stayed with me all day.

The story focuses on these four women and how each of them deals with the matter of sexual assault. Kieth is essentially plunging the reader into this situation, asking them to observe, and then asking what they would do had they been in the car.

I did find some parts completely unrealistic, and I felt his portrayal of the sexual abuse from a woman's point of view fell short by a long way. It was quite difficult to believe, and uncomfortable for the wrong reasons. The characterisation was poor, with the characters seeming extremely underdeveloped. I'd have liked to have heard more of how the women came to be friends, and especially how Cindy, the teenager, came to be a member of the group.

My previous reviews of graphic novels have always stated that I am no expert in this genre, and I'm certainly not. I am a dunce when it comes to the artwork involved in these types of literature, however I didn't like the artwork here. The women looked macabre at times, almost like gargoyles, and this created a surreal edge, making the women even more unrealistic in my eyes.

Despite the above, I liked that Kieth was forcing the reader to think. The story wasn't about the assault as such; it was about sacrifice, guilt, friendship, love, and denial. Mostly, it was a tool to help us think of our own moral codes, and how we would have behaved in place of one of the women. It prompted some very interesting thought debates in my own mind.

Although I feel Kieth's intention was perhaps a lot more meaningful than the result, this was definitely something I enjoyed, although more for the underlying message than the actual plot. I'd recommend this to someone who is looking to pass half an hour, and to have a bit of a ponder at the same time.