2.10.2012

“I’m Young, But I’m Devoted”

The Offering (Self-Published by Anna Bongiovanni): I like to imagine The Offering as a softer version of Julia Gfrorer’s Flesh & Bone, which was one of the best books I read last year. It has that same sort of flickering line weight, this rustic quality that reverberates with kinetic potential. There’s an air of mystery to this short parable that immediately entices the reader to continue along the journey of siblings, one eager, and one more reluctant. The duo finds a free-spirited coven in the woods, about to make a surprisingly willing sacrifice. What I think I love most about this book aside from the raw aesthetic is the lack of embarrassment with which the characters operate. They are unashamed in their spiritual beliefs, unashamed about baring their female forms, and unashamed to express reckless abandon with regard to their emotion. That emotional content is there in the slight hash marks that exist under many of the figures’ eyes as they dance naked and display sweaty frenetic irreverence to societal norms. Ultimately, what begins as a three act tale of curiosity, revenge, and consequence, teaches us a hard lesson about messing with a craft we don’t fully comprehend. It plays with mystic folklore and religious resurrection to become a powerful little morality play. The cover alone exhibits a professional polish that that looks more like it came from a small press publisher like 2d Cloud or even Sparkplug Comic Books than from a lone self-publishing effort. If that same passion brought to the task was also applied to little touches like the intro pages and inclusion of contact info, it would be a huge help in self-promoting some fantastic work. More information on this title and the creator can be found at www.annabongiovanni.com and www.softandfleshy.blogspot.com Grade A.

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