December 8, 2011 | Graphic novels
Marzi Sowa is a complicated little girl living in even more complicated times.
Growing up in the 80s in the People’s Republic of Poland, she doesn’t have very many toys to play with or many different clothes to wear. She spends far too much of her life in long food lines with her parents, ration card in hand, hoping she may get sugar for her tea this month. Or maybe, if they’re lucky, toilet paper.
Even as a young child, Marzi is bright enough to know big things are happening in her homeland. People are growing more and more frustrated with the communist government and, for the first time, growing more and more vocal with their displeasure. Her father, Josef, is participating in strikes, something previously unheard of in their country at the time. Poland is changing and growing into something new; as is Marzi.
Marzi, A Memoir (Vertigo, 248 pages, $19.99) by Marzena Sowa and her partner Sylvain Savoia is made up of a series of elegant vignettes that beautifully blend many familiar childhood moments with scenes of a maturing nation. Sowa perfectly captures the emotion of this pivotal time in world history through the eyes of a child in story that is deeply affecting.
(This article first appeared in the Toronto Star)