Kelsey Wroten’s Cannonball fires the reader straight into the messy life of Caroline Bertram: aspiring writer, queer, art school graduate, near alcoholic, and self proclaimed tortured genius. Wroten tells the story of an artist struggling with the arrival of adulthood and the Sisyphean task of artistic fulfillment. Stunningly drawn in a classic style, with big truths and biting wit, Wroten’s debut graphic novel is Art School Confidential for the Tumblr generation.
This is such a hard review to write because on one hand I really enjoyed many aspects of this story. One the other I absolutely HATED the main character. She treats her friends as rubbish, she’s elitist and entitled. Even when she has succeeded she’s bitter and grumpy. I just wanted to shake her by the shoulder and tell her to wake up!
Yet I kept reading the comic and I kept turning the next page, hoping for some character growth. While the payoff isn’t as huge as I would like, it is there. I did enjoy some aspects of this comic as well. Especially around the was artist are treated and some of the stigma around various artist and the work they do.
I will tell you the one thing I absolutely loved about this book, the art style. This is a beautiful graphic novel with beautifully constructed pages. It’s an interesting style at first to get used to but in the long run I really enjoyed it.
This book really challenged my perceptions of if I have to like the main character in order to like the book. I think had I not been to art school and met plenty of Caroline’s I wouldn’t have had such a negative reaction.
Despite all this, I still highly recommend you pick this up.
I Give Cannonball 3 out of 4 stars.
*Note I have recently after much consideration decided that I can no longer in good faith link to Amazon or Book Depository. Please check out your local bookstore or shop locally.