“Skim” some symbols related with witchcraft especially the

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“Skim” is a graphic novel that combines the words of Mariko Tamaki and drawings of Jillian Tamaki to give life to an extraordinary book. The novel takes us back to adolescence. Where the problems seem to be surrounded by love, depression, sexuality, friendship, confusion, and suicide. The story lets us see through Kim’s eyes and her personal diary where she narrates everything that she feels or happen each day. The main character, Kim , has a weak personality who feels that the world is against her. This teenager girl is caught in a roller coaster of senseless emotions and feelings. As a 17-year-old teenager girl, I never got to understand Kim’s  feelings and  personality or feel empathy and affection for this character. But I’m sure that Kim is a hero for teenagers who feel misunderstood and trapped in loneliness and depression. Kim Keiko Cameron, also nicknamed Skim, is a teenager with overweight, a fascination for witchcraft, astrology, tarot cards and philosophy. The teenager drama begins when the classmate of Kim, Katie Matthews , broke up with her boyfriend. But when you think it’s an absurd drama of teenagers, the ex boyfriend of Katie commits suicide. “Skim” narrates the evolution of the protagonist throughout the academic year. Kim needs to deal with support groups, her sexual preference, therapies with the psychologist, parents in divorce, a crush in the teacher of drama, a school of fake girls, a broken arm and a search to find herself. Kim diaries and dialogues are written with a tone of sadness and depression. They give a feeling of confusion and melancholy that is affecting her actions, personality and interaction with other characters. Throughout the book we can see some symbols related with witchcraft especially the pentacle. A small drawing that symbolizes how she wants to be and feel different from others. The way in which Mariko Tamaki develops the most important themes of “Skim” , love and suicide, leave us a lot to be desired. Suicide has never been an easy subject to understand or deal with. When Katie’s ex-boyfriend kills himself, Kim’s school is dedicated to organizing support groups and events against suicide. I have to confess that I was curious about how our main character will face this situation. The result was disappointing, Kim is so lost in her own melancholy and depression that a suicide did not affect her at all. The theme of love is not left behind when Kim develops feelings for her drama teacher. The forbidden love between Kim and her teacher makes our principal character asks herself  “What is love?”. The novel takes us through a journey of feelings and reflections around this theme. But Kim couldn’t answer this simple question in the 142 pages on which the book consists. In my personal opinion I feel that Kim can’t  find the meaning of love if she doesn’t find herself first.The black and white pictures on the panels create a unique three-dimensional portrait of Kim. The colors become noticeably darker or lighter to signal the change in mood in Kim. Various night scenes communicate Kim’s depression, her unhappy moon face isolated in fields of inky black. In contrast, the outdoor memorial service for the dead boyfriend of  Katie, on a frozen winter field, the participants drawn in lightly, almost as if they are ghosts, the snowy backdrop and blank white balloons conveying absence and emptiness. The dialogue used in skim is minimum letting the images tell you the story. Skim took me on a teenage adventure, where my feelings and emotions changed from one panel to another. A novel that made hate and love the characters, where sometimes the situations made me felt sadness, despair and confusion. Jillian Tamaki draws are powerful. Season changes, sad faces, symbols and dark colors tell you more than the dialogues or story. Skim is a graphic novel that made me feel, but not necessarily something good. No perfect characters, just teenagers trying to solve situations in their own way. The disappointment was that the words of Mariko Tamaki didn’t know how to handle the story and also the more controversial topics such as love and suicide. She never went deep or tried to explain the issues from Kim’s point of view, everything was very superficial. Maybe that’s what Mariko Tamaki wanted, an endless and meaningless novel aimed at readers with complicated adolescence. The book is not intended for readers like me; people who don’t understand depression and feel that there is always a solution to everything. I didn’t like Skim and I would not recommend it either, but that doesn’t mean that this graphic novel isn’t powerful. Skim is a novel that let you see through the eyes of someone else giving you a life lesson; “Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.” It’s about discovering what we’re capable of and learning from our challenges in life to evolve into the person we inspire to be.

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