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Epileptic
B., David
Adult Fiction

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Avatar for Emily Lloyd Emily Lloyd said:
With Expressionist woodcut-like black and white illustrations, here's a riveting memoir of growing up with a severely epileptic brother (and parents who frequently relocate the family, searching for the perfect cure) with a Cabinet of Dr. Caligari-like feel.
posted May 30, 2007 at 11:05AM
Avatar for KaliO KaliO said:
David B. was born Pierre-François. He grew up in France in the 1960s and 70s with his mother, father, older brother Jean-Cristophe and little sister Florence. The siblings played in the alleys and streets with the neighborhood kids; life was normal. Then, one day when Pierre-François is nine years old, eleven-year-old Jean-Cristophe suffers a grand mal epileptic seizure in the street. The family is changed forever, and together they set out on an endless search for something—anything—that will cure Jean-Cristophe. The journey is not pretty. Not only are Jean-Cristophe’s seizures debilitating and awful to behold, but the possibilities of a genuine cure are slim. A horrific surgery is rejected for a stint with an extreme macrobiotic cult; spiritualists consult with the dead, who are supposed to deliver a miracle cure; doctors, philosophers, psychiatrists, intellectuals, and religious leaders are consulted as a last resort that can never really be the final attempt. The family is often treated with cruelty; time and time again they are filled with false hopes by quacks and charlatans who take advantage of their desperation. Ultimately nothing works, but the years of hoping and trying take their toll. Young Pierre-François protects himself from the chaos of his brother’s condition with homemade suits of armor, books about long-ago heroes of war, imaginary friends and ghosts, and epic drawings that depict scenes of ferocious and violent battles. Pierre-François’ artistic outlet becomes David B.’s masterpiece. The book is brilliantly drawn in heavy blacks and whites that go beyond mere representation to show thoughts, dreams, even metaphors. The characters are fully-fleshed out and true (subplots involve both sets of grandparents and their involvements in both World Wars) and the story is sophisticated and intense, making Epileptic a real work of art.
posted Nov 13, 2009 at 2:30PM
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