I failed to see the humor that was described on the cover of this novel and what many individuals witnesses while reading this graphic novel. What I found while reading was a sad, moving story about an adult son who longed to know more about his aging father. I don’t know who I felt more compassion for after reading this graphic novel, Michael or Joel, as they both had faced some hardships during their lifetime.
The novel begins with Michael revisiting his childhood home. He’s on a mission, searching for something in his father’s study. He doesn’t know exactly what it is that he is searching for, but once he finds it, he knows that his search will be over.
Michael reminisces about his childhood and his current family life while he searches. Finally, Michael discovers some deteriorating scrapbooks hidden in his father’s study, his search is over. Michael has always wanted to know about his father’s childhood but his father has never wanted to talk about it. As adults, Joel finally agrees to talk to Michael but as they sit down and talk, Joel’s mind doesn’t recall many memories. Joel does remember that he didn’t feel like a genius which I thought was amazing after realizing he was on the show more than ten years. Michael still has many questions for his father that need answers and he reaches for the scrapbooks for answers.
It was entertaining how much information his grandmother included in the scrapbooks. I never realized how big prodigies were, back in the day. What his grandma was doing, was setting him up for stardom.
This book was a wakeup call for me to Joel and to what was actually happening on this show. Joel became the Quiz Kid, the most famous prodigy in America and possibly the world, just by being on this radio show. He was enjoying the fame and the stardom at first and then, the excitement died down yet Joel continued being on the show. Joel was the exception on this show and as I read, I began to wonder, why was he and for whom?
Joel seemed to have his own explanation for why things went the way they did for him. It made sense and it was sad that they used a child for this purpose. Michael does his research on what his father says and he begins to fully understand his own father. It’s sad that it’s taken all these years for them to see eye-to-eye. Even after quitting the show, Joel didn’t get to live a normal life, his days of being “normal” were over.
I felt that this graphic novel painted a picture for me, it showed me the story and gave me some details but now I want more. I felt some details were left out, details that I need to fully understand the whole story. This graphic novel was printed on cardstock paper which made it a very heavy, well-constructed novel. I enjoyed the illustrations, they weren’t too detailed but enough to describe the story.