Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot

Reason for Reading: Dewey Reading Challenge, Graphic Novel Challenge

Helen Potter lived a happy life until she got lost in a nightmare of sexual abuse. Now she's on a journey that takes her through urban and rural England along the same path that another Potter, Beatrix Potter, once took. Across the decades, two lives touch, and Helen discovers that the strength of two is far greater than one. She becomes the armored knight before her own personal demons in this story of heroism and courage.
Dear Dewey,

I actually remember when you reviewed this book. Beatrix Potter was a big part of my childhood, so any mention of her always garners my attention! It was just unfortunate that this book turned out to be out-of-print in Canada. With my new interest in the library this year, though, I was finally able to give the book a read! I am very glad that I did. Bryan Talbot is an amazing graphic novelist. I have enjoyed both of the books I have read by him recently! You mention in your review how this was the second time that you had read this book. I find I have to do that with all graphic novels, because I am so used to reading that I do not always pay as much attention to the pictures as I should. This is why I don't really think graphic novels are my thing, but I keep reading them anyway!

I agree with your review in so many ways. This was a very powerful book that it can be read many times and you still discover new things about it. There is the obvious story, but then there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. The book should be read a couple times to appreciate all the layers. Eventually I am going to track this book down and buy it. It does stay with you, though. I read it probably over a month ago now and it is still with me. The words and images are such that you will not soon forget.

I think the reason that I picked this book up was for the Beatrix Potter connection. The parallels between Helen Potter and Beatrix Potter caught my attention. The fact that to distract herself from the horrors of her life, Helen copied the watercolours from these childhood stories was a wonderful addititon to the story. Finding a safe place where Beatrix Potter settled for the last part of her life was also a wonderful idea. Talbot wrote a story where he took a very serious subject and added some childhood magic. You said in your review that you thought the one year dealing with things, and then confronting your father was a bit rushed, but it was still handled well. I agree.

I am very glad that you reviewed this book and brought it to my attention. It is a very worthwhile graphic novel. I look forward to visiting it again in the coming years and picking up more of the insight into both Helen's life, the art, and the connections with Beatrix Potter (when I get around to reading the huge biography of her residing on my TBR pile!). Another great book to talk about with you, Dewey!

Until next time...

To read Dewey's review of this book, click here.


  1. I remember Dewey's review of this one too. Though I knew only about Beatrix Potter through Peter Cottantail this still sounded like something I would enjoy.

  2. This really was a fantastic book! I enjoyed it a lot...and I agree with you and was a little rushed, and I would've liked to see this one longer, but it was actually originally published as a 4 book set, so I'm sure he had limitations put on him by the comic book publisher. Oh well.

  3. Well, don't I feel like the little copycat...I just reviewed this today, too. Probably just that "great minds" thing, huh?
    I thought this was quite a wonderful book, too. Sometimes emotionally rough, but then that's what made it so's authenticity.

  4. You know, I don't actually know that much about Beatrix Potter! I'd like to read the biography Dewey mentioned and then return to this. I bet I'll get even more out of it then.

  5. Tink: It is a good book. I think you would enjoy it.

    Chris: Yeah, it isn't always the authors fault. It was still good!

    Debi: Wow, that was great timing! I look forward to your review!

    Nymeth: Beatrix Potter lived an interesting life! I have her biography. Someday I will read it!

  6. I've heard so many good things about this book and glad to hear you enjoyed this one too. It is most definitely on my list!

    Oh and I do feel that sometimes I should re-read graphic novels so as not to miss out on the art or the story but I typically don't re-read so there is that.

  7. Iliana: I am not much for re-reading, either, so I know what you mean! I hope you enjoy this one!

  8. I love these graphic novels that tell serious stories. And Beatrix Potter - geeze that brings back memories. Somewhere around here I have a set of those little mini Potter books that you could collect years ago - can't remember if you got them from gas stations or maybe grocery stores. Anyway, I will definitely check out this book.

  9. Joanne: I have the whole set of Beatrix Potter books, too! No idea where they came from. I hope you enjoy this book!


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