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Experience a Kidnapping with Hostage (by Guy Delisle)

Hostage: Delisle, Guy, Dascher, Helge: 9781770462793: BooksHi, everyone! I’m back. Yes, I know it’s been a very long time. My family and I had caught Covid-19 in early March (we’re completely fine now, no worries), and I had so many school assignments to complete and of course, standardized tests to study for. I’m still preoccupied with the latter, but I managed to find some reading time lately! YAY!! Lately I’ve been into graphic novels and comic books, the latter mostly because I am a huge Marvel fan, and the former because I was a graphic novel nerd when I was in elementary school and recently revisited that phase of mine. I recently visited a library that my family and I always went to, pre-Covid, to browse through some books (even though I’m currently reading about 20) as well as to look through the comics/graphic novel sections, and while browsing I found this hefty looking book, that looked totally out of place among the thin comic books, with the word “hostage” printed on the spine. Naturally, being rather curious about the contents of the book and why it was so large, I pulled it out of the shelf and flipped through the first few pages. Ah. A kidnapping story. Nope! Not just a kidnapping story, it was based off of a real life kidnapping story. What?! Okay, definitely borrowing this one. So I did. And I read through all 432 pages of it in a matter of two days (or three, I really don’t know). And what do I do after I’ve finished an interesting book (or graphic novel for this purpose)? I review it of course!

Now, I know that I have only one book review on this blog, which is quite sad because I’ve had this blog for almost a year now, but this will be my first graphic novel review! So, if this post turns out decently, I might be reviewing some more graphic novels. That is, after I write up my review of Dune by Frank Herbert (the book review I was supposed to write after Midnight Sun). Anyway, let’s get on with the review!

I don’t know where to begin, honestly. I think it’s partly because I’ve only written one book review on this blog and partly because I have so many things that I want to talk about. Okay, let’s start off with the background information. Christophe André, the man who was kidnapped, was working as a humanitarian worker with Doctors Without Borders in 1997, in Nazran. So, Mr. André was doing great work in Nazran when he was captured by a couple of men, who wanted ransom, and was kidnapped and handcuffed for 4 months.

The novel was generally very enjoyable and I really liked the suspense that got me thinking: “when is this ever going to end?” I mean the kidnapping, not the graphic novel. Though I’ve never experienced what he’s experienced (and hopefully I will never experience something like that in the future), I could feel his suffocation and his frustration radiating out of the pages of the book, and there came a few moments when like I was being held hostage with him. Just imagine being handcuffed to a radiator in a vacant room for months on end, spending each day doing nothing but sitting on a flimsy mattress and being fed watery soup for all three meals. Also, he missed his sister’s wedding! Well, not intentionally, of course, but when André was so agitated about the fact that he was going to miss his sister’s wedding, I felt a desire to scream at the drawings of his jailers to let him out. The desire for freedom was oozing out of the pages– and I could feel it so strongly! I really liked how the author wrote/drew each day with the same kind of tone and “schedule”. By tone I mean that André was always hoping to be freed–his thought process similar to, “are they going to let me out tonight?” There was always that feeling of hope lingering in the air–would people from his NGO finally come and save him? By schedule, I mean that André would experience the same thing everyday: Thénardier (the name he gave to his jailer) would bring the same watery soup and bread to André three times a day, then he let André use the bathroom once a day, and would ultimately cuff him back to the radiator after André was finished eating. Through portraying that monotonous day-to-day life by making each day look and feel the same, I really think that helped the audience, or me personally, to grasp the sense of torture–very diferent to how torture is usually portrayed in the media–that André lived through. To add on, the same blue-gray color palette the author continuously used throughout the graphic novel was most likely chosen to further convey that gloomy, tedious, emotion. Maybe I’m wrong and the color palette is a signature in the author’s works, but the gloomy colors were very well incorporated into the theme of the novel anyway.

I feel as if there’s nothing more to review about the graphic novel, as it was based off of a real-life experience, and I don’t want to comment on character development or plot loopholes or anything of that nature, because I can’t review someone’s personal experience like that! Overall, I give this graphic novel a 5/5! I seriously enjoyed it and personally learned some things from the novel, so I encourage everyone, regardless of age, to go ahead and dive into Hostage!

Also, just an update on my current reading excursions: I am still reading Dune by Frank Herbert (I know…it’s taken way too long but I blame it on school work and standardized tests!!), I also recently started Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence (a classic that I’ve never knew existed), and currently reading about a dozen Marvel comic books. Another update about the blog contents: I am planning on posting something about my TBR for this year and I was also thinking of discussing some new releases with you all!


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