Habibi by Craig Thompson
Dodola was a child forced into marriage by her parents to a script copier. At a very tender age, her innocence was already taken. She was a bride, a wife to a very older man whom she served for submissively. But, because of some unwanted circumstances, her husband got killed and she was taken into a slave market. There, she “adopted” baby Zam as her brother because she can’t take the fact that a baby would be killed because the men thought it useless in the market. From there, a whirlwind of unfortunate events happened changing the lives of Dodola and Zam. The whole novel depicts the different changes in their lives and their fight against the corrupt community they live in. A story about unconditional love and the drive to survive in the harsh world.
Honestly, the reason why I bought this book was because of the cover. I know they say never judge a book by its cover but sometimes, you just can’t help it. Book covers certainly do a lot of talking. Covers propel sales especially when readers just browse around the store for some random book shopping (just like what I always do). For one, Habibi is a graphic novel. I love the illustrations which are very rich in detail. I noticed the intricate borders in each chapter and thought that a template was used for each but I when I looked closely, there are subtle differences in the drawings of each border. Meaning, everything was drawn per page! No templates!
Story wise, I loved the plot. In this sinful world we all live in, a lot of cruel things are happening just under our noses. The novel tackles different issues the world faces: slavery, prostitution, religious differences, equality of the sexes, capitalism, materialism, racism and a whole lot of “isms” which I think I cannot remember. I think the unknown timeline in the story shows that we are in a new era with unresolved issues from the past. I could as well label this a political novel, an eye-opener. A well-crafted political novel embedded in a tragic love story.
This is the first graphic novel I have read, put aside the Japanese mangas I have read since highschool. I loved it and am definitely looking forward to read another work from Craig Thompson.