Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Teen Tuesday and Arc Review: Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Hey, Kiddo: how I lost my mother, found my father and dealt with family addiction by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. 312 p. Graphix/ Scholastic Inc., October 9, 2018. 97805445902472. (Review of arc courtesy of publisher.)
Teen Tuesdady features Hey, Kiddo: how I lost my mother, found my father and dealt with family addiction by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Krosczka is an award-winning graphic novelist and illustrator. His books include the Lunch Lady series, books four, five and six of the Jedi Academy series and the Platypus Police Squad. In his graphic novel memoir, Hey Kiddo, we learn that his mother was a talented artist. Unfortunately, she was also a drug addict. She got clean when she was pregnant with Jarrett, but struggled with addiction before and after he was born causing Jarrett's grandparents to sue for custody of their grandson. Jarrett's grandparents were loving but had some problems of their own. The were rough around the edges but loved Jarrett fiercely. He grew up in the working class city of Worcester, Massachusetts during the 1980s and his art saved him. It gave him an outlet and also brought him attention.
Krosoczka's grey and sepia toned illustrations and watery-bordered panels evoke the haze of memory and some sadness. The narrative is enhanced by the insertion of photographs of the author's mother's letters and art. Backmatter includes a lengthy author's note.
This memoir is a tough read. It is a raw, unflinching look at the effect addiction has on family. For those readers dealing with addiction within their family, this book is a mirror. For those lucky enough not to have an addicted family member, this window book will help readers temper their judgement. Addiction is complicated and addicts are as well. This brave graphic novel memoir belongs in every public, middle and high school classroom and school library.