Louis Undercover, by Fannie Britt (2017).
Complex emotions and intimate situations are explored through coarsely beautiful, black-and-white sketches in Louis Undercover, a profound graphic novel by Fannie Britt.
Louis’ parents used to live together, as he recalls in a montage of idyllic scenes, but it’s been a year and a half since their family was whole. He knows his father is an alcoholic who cries every night. He is aware that his parents are still very much in love with each other, and that it’s his father’s drinking problem that keeps them from being a family. Love, as seen through the eyes of this preteen, is painful. It grinds people down until they are just “specks of dust”. As Louis and his family endure several trials, maybe love can also be a source of strength for them.
This sentimental and genuine family drama refuses to patronize the young readers it is geared towards. The subject matter is not easy, but Britt puts much-deserved stock in her preteen audience. Readers of realistic fiction will be deeply moved by this one.
Review by Rosemary Medrano