Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The Bellybuttons Vol3 review

Now, ordinarily this would be the very last type of book I’d think of reading.
In fact, the review copy from Cinebook sat on the table for a few weeks before I picked up the courage to read it- already framing the polite ‘it’s nice but it’s not for me’ type review I was going to write for it.
I was quite wrong.
While it is true that this book does display all the tropes that I imagine exist in comics for girls of a certain age- talk of clothes and boyfriends and such- there are many other things going on too.
So, the series revolves around three friends, Vicky, Karine and Jenny. They are the clichéd trio of the sensible one, the selfish one and the stupid (and selfish) one. There is also a nice cast of secondary characters, my favourite among them being John John, the stud boyfriend Vicky and Jenny constantly fight over. John’s USP is that he never takes his motorcycle helmet off- something I found very funny until it became a plot point, and ends up being not funny at all, but something that is actually quite moving it an odd way.
The story is basically told in single page stories that come together into an over arching narrative- so the story of John John’s helmet or Karine’s trip to Africa grow as the book progresses.
And it is all very frothy and genuinely funny and the reader is happy in the warm glow of the light comedy when all of a sudden there is a moment of pitch blackness right in the middle of it. A moment that is made all the more surprising and powerful by the character’s reaction- or lack of reaction- to it.
So, all in all, this book was quite a surprise to me- and a very nice one at that.

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