Graphic Novel Review: Take The Long Way Home by Jon Claytor

Take The Long Way Home by Jon Claytor. Conundrum, 2022. 9781772620702. 460pp.

Artist Jon Claytor drove across Canda in 2019, from Halifax to Prince Rupert, BC, for an artist residency. Along the way and after he made this graphic novel about the trip. It’s full of his friends and his kids and his ongoing struggle to stay sober. It’s charming, reflective, and, at times, very dark. In Chapter 10 Claytor reproduces what he’d say at a meeting if he was asked to share his story as it pertains to alcoholism. He continually warns readers to skip the whole section, but it’s my favorite part of the book. There’s a lot of shame involved, and he describes finding that he wanted to live only after a failed attempt to kill himself. It’s one of the most moving things I’ve read in a long time, in part because Claytor’s art and hand lettering feels immediate and honest. I read this section several times, and went back to it again and again as I continued on in the book.

Worth noting: There are a few talking animals in the book, and at one point Claytor has a nightmare that was so vivid for me that it almost made me put the book down. It’s rare that a graphic memoir hits me this hard.


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