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05 July, 2017
Book Review: The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot
Author: Bryan Talbot
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Publication date: 1995
Helen Potter is a runaway following the steps of Beatrix Potter whom she holds an affinity to because of sharing both first and surnames. Her troubles with being touched by males and her sexuality combined with the mental stigma and shame she feels as a survivor of incest has her constantly on the move and leery of trusting anyone.
Her traveling companion starts off as a pet rat saved from a school biology lab. As she travels north her reliance on the rat as a companion becomes more prevalent after a tragedy drives her to continue North. Helen finds her way to the Lake Land District, home of Beatrix Potters house Hill Top. Helen finds friends in the owners of the Herdwick Arms pub who help her after she collapses in the rear of the building, and who offer her safety in a job, a place to sleep, and eventually in support in facing her parents.
This is a tough story to read. The subject material is uncomfortable, and you can see the research and the pain and suffering that the author conveys in the subject. He quotes Miriam Saphira from The Sexual Abuse of Children "The first step towards prevention and to provision of supportive services for the girls who've been abused is bringing abuse into the open... Incest is not taboo. It seems that talking about incest is the real taboo."
This was such a moving little story about finding the strength to stand up to the person abusing you and finding your strength as a person despite the mental stigmas that plague your thoughts and opinions of who you are. The artwork in this book is absolutely stunning. I don't know that I would have picked this up on my own, though it is the story driven type of graphic novel I adore. This was shared with me by bookcrosser HI77 I'm sad I wasn't able to fit it into my manga and graphic novel book box. I'll have to think on a place to share this book with the world.