Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Passport by Sophia Glock. Special thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
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Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 16 November 2021
Genre: Graphic Novel, Memoir, Non-Fiction
Young Sophia has lived in so many different countries, she can barely keep count. Stationed now with her family in Central America because of her parents’ work, Sophia feels displaced as an American living abroad, when she has hardly spent any of her life in America.
Everything changes when she reads a letter she was never meant to see and uncovers her parents’ secret. They are not who they say they are. They are working for the CIA. As Sophia tries to make sense of this news, and the web of lies surrounding her, she begins to question everything. The impact that this has on Sophia’s emerging sense of self and understanding of the world makes for a page-turning exploration of lies and double lives.
In the hands of this extraordinary graphic storyteller, this astonishing true story bursts to life.
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Sophia Glock is a cartoonist who lives in Austin, TX. Her graphic memoir, Passport, is on sale 11/2/2021 from Little Brown Young Readers. It is available for pre-order here.
Sophia’s comics and cartoons have been published in The New Yorker, Buzzfeed, Narratively, MUTHA Magazine, and Time Out New York. Her work has also been featured in various anthologies including, Ink Brick, Suspect Device, Quarter Moon, DIGESTATE, Rabid Rabbit, and Kilgore Quarterly. Her collection of comics Born, Not Raised was selected to be included in The Society of Illustrators Cartoon and Comics Art Annual 2016 and her short comic The Secrets in My Mother’s Nightstand was shortlisted for The Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Web Comic of the Year in 2016.
In 2008 she was a recipient of a Xeric Foundation Grant for her comic, The Deformitory. She is also the author of The Lettuce Girl, SemiSolid, Over Ripe and Passport: Fig. You can pick up her mini comics at indie-friendly stores across the country, or from Bird Cage Bottom Books.
Note: The pages below are taken from an advanced/unfinished copy and are subject to change in the final version.
TL;DR: I kind of feel weird rating someone’s memoir since it’s so personal and obviously real but I think I was expecting something a little different to what we got. Passport is Sophia Glock’s coming-of-age story. We follow her tumultuous teenage thoughts and feelings as she comes of age in a foreign country, surrounded by people she’s not sure are really her friends and parents who are secretive and distant. There were things that I found relatable as someone who had a similar(ish) upbringing and I thought this was an interesting memoir!
Things I Enjoyed:
- As someone who grew up in a somewhat similar situation (minus the secret agent parents), I related to her teen experiences. I really related to the author’s feeling of not belonging where she grew up but also not belonging where she was born because yes, it’s such a stark and confusing feeling, and it sticks with you!
- The art style perfectly compLemented the story! The characters all seem to blend with the same/similar physical features with minor differences between them, which seems to indicate how the author has distanced herself or feels unattached towards the people around her. The only people who seem to have distinctive features are her family, especially her parents and sister, and I think that’s a great way to show who were the significant players in her life. I also loved how certain items were suddenly in a different colour which to me indicated how important or impactful it was to her (like that red dress)!
- One of the main reasons I requested to read this was because I had a somewhat similar upbringing minus the secret agent parents. However, growing up as a Third Culture Kid is such a unique experience and has such a lasting impact on all of us and I always love to see how others experienced it. I definitely related to some of the author’s restlessness and the air of anticipation and expectation for something to happen. I also related to a lot of the sneaking out to the dodgiest places in foreign countries with that air of danger but also feeling invincible and anonymous enough to get away with it and have nothing happen to me (which is honestly ridiculous lol)! 😂
- I absolutely loved the ending of this graphic novel and it really hit home for me. Just the idea of believing you’re finally going back to the place where you “belong” but then realising that it’s actually not all it cracked up to be and how that sucks but it’s just a part of life and it’s okay.
Things I was on the fence about:
- I kind of wish that the reveal of her parents as secret agents got more of a focus. I mean, I can totally understand why it wasn’t because maybe it wasn’t allowed in the end, but I thought that aspect of the story would get more attention and the actual reveal felt a little anticlimactic. But the more I think about it perhaps that was also how the author felt in the end?
Have you read Passport or is it on your TBR?