Cover image for Bad friends / Ancco ; translated by Janet Hong.
Title:
Bad friends / Ancco ; translated by Janet Hong.
Author:
ISBN:
9781770463295
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
[Montreal, Canada] : Drawn & Quarterly, [2018]

©2018
Physical Description:
173 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 22 cm
General Note:
"Originally published in Korean by Changbi Publishers, Inc."--Colophon.
Abstract:
"Jinju is bad. She smokes, drinks, runs away from home, and has no qualms about making her parents worry. Her mother and sister beg her to be a better student, sister, daughter; her beleaguered father expresses his concerns with his fists. Bad Friends is set in the 1990s in a South Korea torn between tradition and Western modernity and haunted by an air of generalized gloom. Cycles of abuse abound as the characters enact violence within their power structures: parents beat children, teachers beat students, older students beat younger students. But at each moment that the duress verges on bleakness, Ancco pulls back with soft moments of friendship between Jinju and her best friend, Jung-ae. What unfolds is a story of female friendship, a Ferrante-esque connection formed through youthful excess, malaise, and struggle that stays with the young women into adulthood."--Amazon.com.
Added Author:

On Order

Library
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Bob Harkins Branch1Received on 5/3/19

Summary

Summary

Included on Publishers Weekly 's Best of 2018 list! A story of the enduring quality of female friendship amid a gritty landscape of abuse.

"Against gorgeous, starkly sketched city scenes of South Korean alleyways and hostess bars, the rebellions and secret longings of '90s teenager Pearl and her group of "bad friends" play out in this imported debut discovery."-- Publishers Weekly

Jinju is bad. She smokes, drinks, runs away from home, and has no qualms about making her parents worry. Her mother and sister beg her to be a better student, sister, daughter; her beleaguered father expresses his concerns with his fists. Bad Friends is set in the 1990s in a South Korea torn between tradition and Western modernity and haunted by an air of generalized gloom. Cycles of abuse abound as the characters enact violence within their power structures: parents beat children, teachers beat students, older students beat younger students. But at each moment that the duress verges on bleakness, Ancco pulls back with soft moments of friendship between Jinju and her best friend, Pearl. What unfolds is a story of female friendship, a Ferrante-esque connection formed through youthful excess, malaise, and struggle that stays with the young women into adulthood.

Served by a dry and precise line, Bad Friends viscerally captures the adolescent years of two young women who want and know they deserve something different but, ultimately, are unable to follow through. In a culture where young women are at a systemic disadvantage, Ancco creates a testimonial to female friendship as a powerful tool for survival. Jinju forgets her worst adolescent memories, but she cannot ever shake the memory of her friendship with Pearl during her most tumultuous years.


Author Notes

Ancco began publishing diary comics in 2002 to quick acclaim, capturing an audience with the immediacy and honesty of her cartooning. Rooted in her lived experience, Ancco's works of fiction share these strengths, bringing an authentic and genuine voice to a generation of Korean youth. The original edition of her most recent graphic novel, Bad Friends , won the Korean Comics Today Prize, and the French translation (which was her second book to be translated into French) won the Prix Révélation at the Angoulême International Comics Festival in 2016, a prize awarded to stand-out work from young cartoonists. Ancco was born in 1983 just outside of Seoul, Korea, in Seongnam.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Told with arresting honesty and strength, this graphic novel conjures a grim vision of growing up in late-1990s South Korea. Rebelling against her abusive father and teachers who routinely beat her, 16-year-old Pearl smokes, slacks off at school, and runs with the bad-girls crowd. Yet her situation is well-adjusted compared to her fellow delinquents, especially her best friend, Jeong-Ae, who survives in chaotic poverty and is already dabbling in sex work. Pearl and Jeong-Ae run away together, try to get work in a hostess bar, and share a seedy motel room. When they're finally forced to give up, only Pearl has a home, however unhappy, left to go back to. Reflecting as a comfortable, mostly happy adult, she can barely believe she escaped her hometown: "Even now I feel relieved when I realize I don't have to get a beating," Pearl marvels. Yet for all its bleak moments, the book has a tender warmth. Ancco evokes the confused excitement of adolescence: realizing adults can't be relied on, standing up for yourself, trusting in friendship. In sharp, kinetic charcoal lines that seem in constant danger of toppling off the page, she renders a hostile world of monotone classrooms shadowy alleys, Oppa lovers, and the defiant girls who stand out from the crowd. Stunning in its stark look at child abuse, and empathy for its characters, Ancco's artfully told story grabs the reader's attention and never lets go. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.