Posts Tagged ‘melodramatic’

Let the Church Say Amen

August 13, 2012

Author: ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Title: Let the Church Say Amen

Genre: African American Fiction, Christian Fiction

Publication Date: July, 2004

Number of Pages: 289

Geographical Setting: Houston, Texas

Time Period: Modern Day

Series: Book 1 of the Amen series

Plot Summary: In book 1 of Billingsley’s Amen series, we are introduced to Reverend Simon Jackson, dedicated pastor who puts his church first  and in working hard to build it up from nothing, ends up neglecting his wife and three children.  Although he runs a tight, successful ship in his congregation, his children are another story. One son is having problems with drugs, one son is confused about his identity and his daughter has her own problems regarding the fathers of her two children.  Jackson’s wife Loretta is the heart of the family and after realizing that she has allowed her husband to focus more on his pastoral duties than their family, works to reunite them despite the shadow of secrets which are revealed. A more urban take on Christian Fiction in that there is some sex  and mild profanity, this is a story of how one African American family turns to God, eachother and their community to figure out what really matters in life.

Subject Headings: African American families; Christian life; Family problems; African American clergy; Children of clergy; Spouses of clergy; Church membership; Christian fiction; Domestic fiction

Appeal: Character-driven, Compelling, Candid, Flawed characters, Inspiring characters, Family centered, Details of Christian Church, Thought-provoking, Urban, Conversational, Melodramatic, Poignant

3 Terms that best describe this book: Character-driven, Family-centered, Compelling

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1) The Black Church in America: African American Christian Spirituality (Religious Life in America)by Michael Battle

This book provides a historical perspective about how the Black Church in America came to be including its African roots, the doctrine and practices of the churches and how denominations were formed. Battle also discusses current beliefs, practices and modern day dilemmas facing the church today. This book might appeal to those interested in learning more about the background of the African American Christian Church which is one of the main “characters” in Let the Church Say Amen.

2) I Told the Mountain to Move by Patricia Raybon

Raybon’s frank book is part memoir and part tutorial about how she’s struggled with prayer among life’s many challenges and what readers might learn from what she’s discovered. This book might appeal to those who enjoyed the messages of faith and forgiveness through prayer prevalent in Let the Church Say Amen.

3) How We Got Over: Testimonies of Faith, Hope and Courage by Trevy A. McDonald and Bettye J. Allen (editors)

This collection of stories about real people who overcame a variety of obstacles from life-threatening situations to broken family relationships might appeal to those readers who were inspired by the Jackson family’s courage and ability to keep the faith regardless of life’s problems in Let the Church Say Amen.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1)  The Reverend’s Wife by Kimberla Lawson Roby

This book centers on the story of Reverend Curtis Black as he struggles to decide whether to forgive his unfaithful wife who is working hard to reconcile or consider a proposition by another woman who loves and wants to marry him. Those who enjoyed Let the Church Say Amen because it’s a character-driven story about African American clergy might enjoy this book.

2)  Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin

This book is about John Grimes who experiences a religious conversion while his family struggles with guilt, bitterness, and spiritual issues. Like Let the Church Say Amen, this book is centered on an African American family who turns to faith and the church to solve life’s problems.

3) Have a Little Faith by Jacquelin Thomas, ReShonda Tate Billingsley, J.D. Mason and Sandra Kitt

This collection of stories from four bestselling African-American authors introduces a group of women who discover how life can open up if one has faith. A book for those who enjoyed the themes of faith, family and forgiveness in Let the Church Say Amen.

Name: Bridget Optholt

Chyna Black by Keisha Ervin

August 13, 2012

 Author:  Keisha Ervin

Title:  Chyna Black

Genre:  African American, Urban Lit

Publication Date:  2004

Number of Pages:  259

Geographical Setting:  St. Louis, Missouri

Time Period:  Contemporary

Series (If applicable):  N/A

Plot Summary:  Seventeen-year-old Chyna Black catches the eye of Tyriek James, a handsome 22-year-old drug dealer living a life filled with fast cars, expensive jewelry, and designer name clothes.  Unheeding her girlfriends’ advice that Tyriek is nothing but trouble, Chyna is blinded by her passion and pursues a relationship with him, forsaking everything else.  Chyna, infatuated and caught up in his lifestyle, goes from straight-A student to high school dropout, begins to isolate herself from her friends, and gets thrown out of her mother’s house.  Although things go well for a while between her and Tyriek, their relationship soon becomes fraught with jealousy, infidelity, violent physical and emotional abuse, passionate make-up sex, and insincere promises of devotion.  Chyna learns all too late the unhealthiness of their relationship, returns to her mother’s house, and begins dating an old boyfriend, LP, who gets her pregnant.  Without LP’s support, she decides to keep the baby and get her life back on track by getting a job and her GED.  One year later, at her daughter’s first birthday, Tyriek reappears with new promises of devotion.  Chyna Black is a fast-paced, gritty tale of urban fiction written in a raw, conversational style that is heavy with dialect and loaded with profanity.  Chyna and Tyriek’s relationship is a maelstrom of drama and passionate eroticism that is sure to engage readers who enjoy these elements.

Subject Headings:  African American Teenage Girls; Inner City Life; Teenage Pregnancy; High School Dropouts; Drug Dealers; Unhealthy Relationships; Responsibility; Coming-of-Age Stories

Appeal:  Conversational, informal, unpretentious, authentic, raw, gritty, dialect-rich, sexually explicit, strong language, erotic, romantic, melodramatic, hopeful, inspiring, fast-paced, open-ended

3 terms that best describe this book:  Dialect-rich, raw, and strong language

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

            3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

1)  Dear Diary, I’m Pregnant: Ten Real Life Stories by Anrenee Englander

This book is a collection of candid interviews with ten teenage girls from various socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, and faiths about their experiences with pregnancy.  The girls’ stories also touch on topics such as abortion, adoption, and deciding to keep their babies.  This title is suggested to those who want to read true-life stories about teenage pregnancies after reading about Chyna’s experiences.

2)  A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown

A harrowing yet inspiring memoir of how the author overcame her history of childhood neglect, abject poverty, trauma, rape, prostitution, gang affiliation, and substance abuse and became a California attorney and motivational speaker.  Like Chyna Black, this is a gritty, raw, and inspiring story of an African American woman taking back control of her life.

3)  Brothers (and Me): A Memoir of Loving and Giving by Donna Britt

An honest and introspective memoir about how the author, growing up as the only daughter in a middle-class African American family, sacrificed her own ambitions and self-identity for the men in her life: her three brothers, her father, her boyfriends, and her husband.  After the police shoot and kill one of her brothers, she reflects on the ways in which she has continually given of herself to others at the expense of her own individuality.  Chyna Black comes to a similar realization when she breaks things off with Tyreik and begins to take responsibility for her future.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1)  Every Thug Needs a Lady by Wahida Clark

Roz puts her personal aspirations of becoming a physical therapist aside when she meets and gets involved with Trae, a drug dealer.  She soon realizes the cost of getting into a relationship with a gangster.  Every Thug Needs a Lady and Chyna Black are similar urban tales of young African American women blinded by their passion for handsome, wealthy thugs at the expense of everything else.

2)  Black: A Street Tale by Tracy Brown

When her mother throws her out of the house, 17-year-old Kaia is forced to live on the streets.  Trying desperately just to survive, she meets and gets involved in relationship with a local hoodlum named Aaron.  Although this relationship changes her life, she questions whether it has changed for the better or if it is stifling her freedom.  Suggested to readers looking for another story about a young African American teenage girl who is thrown out of her home and becomes romantically involved with a dangerous man.

3)  Push by Sapphire

Sixteen-year-old Precious Jones lives in a severely abusive household where her father routinely rapes her and her mother emotionally and physically abuses her.  When she finds herself pregnant with her father’s child for the second time, she enrolls in an alternative school in Harlem to overcome her illiteracy.  Her teacher, Blue Rain, encourages and pushes her to learn how to read and write.  By learning these skills, Precious is able to find an outlet for communicating her tragic existence.  Push is suggested to readers looking for a grittier, bleaker, and more harrowing tale of a pregnant African American teenage girl gaining the confidence she needs to confront the adversity and trauma she has suffered.

Name:  Zach Musil

Giovanni’s Room

November 15, 2011

Author: James Baldwin

Title: Giovanni’s Room

Genre: GLBTQ / Literary Fiction

Publication Date: 1956

Number of Pages: 169

Geographical Setting: Paris

Time Period: 1950s

Plot Summary: With his fiancée Hella away in Spain, David—a twenty-something American living abroad in Paris—moves in with an Italian man named Giovanni and begins a romantic affair with him. David is conflicted about his burgeoning homosexual identity and this conflict grows more intense when Hella returns to Paris. David loves Giovanni, but his conditioning as an American male of the mid-twentieth century precludes him from committing to the relationship and to the truth of his homosexuality. David narrates the story from some time in the future, in a house in the south of France, at which point Hella has returned to America and Giovanni has been sentenced to death for some crime which is revealed near the end of the book. The story thus recounts how David ends up alone, with neither a gay nor a straight companion.

Subject Headings: Homosexuality; Gay fiction; Love triangles; American expatriates—Paris

Appeal: bleak, character-centered, compelling, concise, emotional, first-person narrative, heartbreaking, introspective, melodramatic, psychological, reflective, somber, tragic

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: character-centered, introspective, heartbreaking

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present by Neil Miller [Comprehensive guide to the history of homosexuality, including information about the time and place of Giovanni’s Room]

Gay Fictions: Studies in a Male Homosexual Literary Tradition by Claude J. Summers [Lit-crit text featuring essays about male homosexual fiction, including one about Giovanni’s Room]

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway [About life as an American expatriate in Paris]

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Married Man by Edmund White [Love story about gay men set in Paris; tragic, bleak, heartbreaking; protagonist is an American expatriate]

Maurice by E.M. Forster [Ahead-of-its-time depiction of gay romance; examination of inner conflict produced by having homosexual feelings in a time when being gay was socially unacceptable; European setting]

The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal [First American novel to openly discuss homosexuality; more inner conflict about gay identity; tragic love story]

Name: Brian W.

The Other Boleyn Girl

July 25, 2011

Author: Philippa Gregory

Title: The Other Boleyn Girl

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pub. Date: 2002

Number of Pages: 664

Geographical Setting: England

Time Period: 16th century

Plot Summary: Two sisters become rivals in this story of love, lust and betrayal. Mary Boleyn wins the affections of King Henry VIII but her sister Anne is intent on becoming Queen and maneuvers herself into the role causing her Mary to be tossed aside. When Anne has difficulty giving the king a male heir, things begin to fall apart. This fast paced romantic story will have you eager to learn more of the love, sex, ambition, and intrigue that drives these two women.

Subject Headings: Boleyn, Mary, 1508-1543 Fiction.
Henry VIII, King of England, 1491-1547 Fiction.
Great Britain History 1509-1547 Fiction.

Appeal: fast-paced, dramatic, emotionally-charged, romantic, racy, historical details, colorful, vivid, claustrophobic, intrigue, melodramatic, dangerous

Three terms that best describe this book: fast-paced, historical details, emotionally-charged

Three Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
The Reluctant Queen by Jean Plaidy – Lady Ann Neville is set to marry the future king but is in love with his brother.

The Innocent by Posie Graeme-Evans – Born a peasant, Anne beauty and knowledge of healing herbs lead her to happiness and a king.

To Dance with Kings by Rosalind Laker – The story of several generations of two families set at Versailles.

Three Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
Scandalous Women : The Lives and Loves of History’s Most Notorious Women by Elizabeth Kerri Mahon – The stories of thirty five famous and infamous woman are told.

Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey – Information on the six different wives of Henry VIII.

The Tudor Housewife by Alison Sim – A look at marriage, childbirth, the upbringing of children, washing and cleaning, food and drink, the housewife as doctor, women and business, and women and religion for a 16th century woman.

A Blessed Event

November 4, 2009

Title: A Blessed Event

Author: Jean Reynolds Page

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 352

Genre: Women’s Lives

Geographical Setting: Smalltown Texas

Time Period: 1974-1977, 1983, 1988 (Epilogue)

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Childhood friends Joanne (Jo) Timbro and Darla Stevens are challenged by Darla, and her husband Cal’s, fertility problems. Together, the two women decide that Cal will impregnate Jo the old-fashioned way, and then Cal and Darla will raise the child. Everything seems to be working as planned, until the night Joanne’s car veers off the road and into Darla and Cal’s bedroom wall. Jo, severely injured, is brain dead. Five months pregnant, she lays in the hospital bed in a coma. Distraught and afraid for the life of her child, Darla finds herself in a court battle, with consequences she never imagined coming to light. Darla’s best friend from high school, Sean, is a Catholic priest, and the one person Darla knows she can depend on. Relationships are not always what they seem to be during times of crisis, and Darla must make heart-wrenching decisions about her best friend, her marriage, and the future of her baby. The date-stenciled chapter flashbacks offer readers insight into Joanne and Darla’s friendship during high school, and the secrets they shared, and a few they kept from one another. A Reader’s Guide (a conversation with the author) and Reading Group Questions are also offered in the back of the book.

Subject Headings: Best friends, Women and friendship, Marriage, Husband and wife, Infertility, Childlessness, Motherhood, Surrogacy, Extramarital relations, Interpersonal triangles, Traffic accidents, Brain injuries, Coma patients, Child custody, Family secrets, Family relationships, Mothers and daughters, Ethics, Law, Family Planning, Suicide, Secrets, Custody, Infidelity, Love, Father and daughter, Coming of Age, Moral issues

Appeal: Hopeful, Sympathetic, Melodramatic, Obsession, Suspense, Heartache, Intimate, Powerful, Mysterious, Riveting, Compelling, Heartbreaking, Family oriented

Three terms that best describe this book: Intriguing, Sympathetic, Psychologically Suspenseful


Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Origin of Haloes (2005) by Den Hartog Pregnant, sixteen-year-old gymnast Kay Clancy marries her high-school sweetheart, Joe LeBlanc, although he is not the father of her child, an action that has profound repercussions years later when Joe mysteriously vanishes. An excellent read-alike that involves family, secrets, and repercussions.

In Another Man’s Bed (2007) by Francis Ray — Justine is forced to make a difficult choice between her adulterous husband, left comatose following a devastating car accident, his supportive mother, and the old flame who has just walked back into her life. An awesome tie-in to A Blessed Event, with a twist.

Family Secrets (2007) by Judith Henry Wall Two bombshells fall on Vanessa, Ellie and Georgiana the night of their mother’s 60th birthday: widowed mom Penelope is moving to France with a man they’ve never met, and they learn their paternal grandmother did not die in childbirth as they’d been told all their lives. Families, like friends, often have secrets that change everyone involved, much like the lives of the characters in A Blessed Event.

Relevant Non-fiction Works and Authors:

Surrogacy Was the Way (2006) by Zara Griswold — Twenty Intended Mothers Tell Their Stories documents the true stories of twenty women who had children via surrogacy. Surrogacy is a complete possibility in today’s day and age, but anyone considering this route to parenthood should know the pros and cons. The women featured go to surrogacy for a variety of reasons, ranging from Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH) to cancer to unexplained infertility and everything in between. An excellent tie-in to A Blessed Event and the real life experiences of mothers and surrogate relationships.

Management of Post-mortem Pregnancy: Legal And Philosophical Aspects (2006) by Daniel Sperling — Recent advances in medical technology have provided healthcare staff with the possibility of maintaining the life of a brain-dead pregnant woman on life-support in order to achieve successful delivery of the fetus. Covers the topics found in A Blessed Event: the moral, legal, psychological, religious, spiritual and physical aspects of the question on the interests of dead people, as well as the jurisprudential question of the fetus’ interests.

The Fabric of Friendship: Celebrating the Joys, Mending the Tears in Women’s Relationships (2006) by Joy Carol — Explores the emotional hurdles that women face in their relationships. The Fabric of Friendship reveals a simple truth: friendship is never simple. This work of fiction connects and enlightens readers as they reflect on the friendship between Darla and Jo in A Blessed Event.

Name: Maurine

Swapping Lives

October 21, 2009

Author: Green, Jane

Title: Swapping Lives

Genre: Chick Lit/Audiobook

Publication Date: 2005

Geographical Setting: Highfield, Connecticut & London

Time Period: present day

Series: no

Plot Summary: Vicky Townsley is a 35-year-old editor at a popular women’s magazine in London who is convinced that her real life can only begin once she is married with children. But first she needs to find a man who is ready for commitment. Amber Winslow is a wealthy wife and mother in Connecticut with a mansion, a gardener, and a full-time nanny. She loves her husband and children but feels as though her life has become a meaningless competition. When Amber and Vicky trade lives for a month as part of a magazine contest, both women get a chance to live the life they think they want. But both women come to realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

This audiobook, narrated by British actress Rosalyn Landor using many different voices and accents, features plenty of dialogue, a contemporary plot that is character-centered but engaging, and an intriguing concept of switching lives. Although the two main characters seem perfect on the outside, the author relates their inner struggles in detail. Secondary characters are easily recognizable but fun: the supportive friend, the ladies man boyfriend, the catty “friends” at the fundraisers. The settings—both London and a wealthy suburb in Connecticut—provide a peek at glamorous jobs and lifestyles, with plenty of descriptions of fabulous homes and designer fashions. The dialogue and plot get a bit racy at times, with plenty of talk of “shagging” and some strong language. Despite the sometimes melodramatic introspective musings of the two main characters, this book is basically a light read, with a happy ending for all involved.

Appeal Terms: humorous, romantic, chick lit, detailed, inner dialogue, glamorous, motherhood, relationships, light read, self discovery, British customs, romance, happy ending, Connecticut, London, marital problems, fresh starts, suburban, quick read, role reversal, identity crisis, fashion-centered, familiar characters, introspective, multiple points of view, sympathetic, character-centered, domestic, multiple plot lines, racy, rich and famous, strong language, contemporary, emotionally charged, melodramatic

Subject Headings: women’s magazines (fiction), London (fiction), role reversal (fiction), housewives (fiction), Connecticut (fiction), women and dating (fiction), marriage (fiction), suburban living (fiction), motherhood (fiction), identity

Three Terms that Best Describe the Book: glamorous, identity crisis, character-centered

Three Nonfiction Titles:

The Handbag: An Illustrated History by Caroline Cox
– Examines the history of handbag design within the context of changing society and women’s roles in it

Little Black Book of London by Vesna Neskow
– This travel guide features insider recommendations and full-color neighborhood maps that pinpoint landmarks, museums, entertainment, pubs, clubs, and hotels in London

Queen Bees & Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman
– The characters in Swapping Lives could learn a few things from this book about cliques and social climbing girls

Three Fiction Titles:

Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes
– Depicts the lives of three women in the fashion magazine industry, exploring the trials and tribulations as well as the happiness and joy of true friends in the fast-paced world of love and career.

I Don’t Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother by Allison Pearson
– Kate Reddy, a hedge fund manager and mother of two, struggles to juggle her professional and personal lives and to balance work and home.

Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner
– A celebrity gossip reporter turned suburban Connecticut housewife sets out to solve the mystery of a super mom found dead on the floor of kitchen in this light mystery.

Empress of the Splendid Season

April 14, 2009

Title: Empress of the Splendid Season

Author: Hijuelos, Oscar

Publication Date: 1999

Number of Pages: 342

Genre: Latino/a

Geographical Setting: Cuba; New York City

Time Period: 1940s-1980s

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Lydia España was the daughter of a mayor in a small town in Cuba who lived a life of privilege before Castro’s rise to power. Everything changes for the spoiled and pampered Lydia when she exiled from her homeland by her father for a sexual indiscretion that casts shame upon her family. Lydia immigrates to the United States and connects with other Cuban immigrants in New York’s Spanish Harlem. Lydia meets her husband Raul, a Cuban waiter, who nicknames her “Empress of the Splendid Season” because of her beauty and sophistication. In order to provide for her husband and their two children, Rico and Alicia, Lydia works as a cleaning woman for upper class New Yorkers much better off than herself. Lydia struggles to maintain her Cuban upbringing and recapture the life she was forced to abandon in Cuba, but is met with challenges, which make that dream nearly impossible. Through it all, Lydia never loses her dignity or her dream of a life as the “Empress of the Splendid Season.”

Subject Headings: Cuban-American women – New York City; Cuban-Americans – New York City; Cuban-American domestic workers – New York City; Women immigrants – New York City; Cuban immigrants – New York City; New York City; Cuban-American fiction – 20th century

Appeal: leisurely paced, measured, unhurried, detailed, introspective, like life, realistic, vivid, well developed, well drawn, character centered, family centered, intergenerational, inspirational, vibrant, though-provoking, bittersweet, sensual, detailed setting, melodramatic, episodic, nostalgic, cinematic, candid, elegant, frank, polished, cinematic, thoughtful

Similar Authors and Works (Fiction): Dubus, Andre – House of Sand and Fog (immigrant experience, melodramatic, nostalgic, tragic, realistic, cinematic) Kim, Nancy – Chinhominey’s Secret (intergenerational, immigrant experience, complex relationships, insightful) Perez, Loida Martiza – Geographies of Home (intergenerational; immigrant experience, complex family relationships, haunting, inspirational, character-centered)

Similar Authors and Works (Nonfiction): Diaz, GuarioneThe Cuban American Experience: Issues, Perceptions, and Realities (comprehensive analysis of Cuban Americans in the United States) James, Ian Michael – Ninety Miles: Cuban Journeys in the Age of Castro (stories of three Cuban immigrants and their individual reasons for leaving Cuba for the United States) Carlson, Lori Marie and Hijuelos, Oscar (editors) Burnt Sugar (Caña Quemada) Contemporary Cuban Poetry in English and Spanish (collection of poems about love and longing for Cuba written by Cubans living in Cuba and abroad)

Name: Joanna

Soul Mates Dissipate

April 1, 2009

Author: Mary B. Morrison

Title:  Soul Mates Dissipate

Genre:  Romance, African-American Fiction, Urban Lit

Publication Date: 2000

Pages: 234

Geographic Setting:  Oakland and San Francisco California

Time Period:  Present Day

Series: Soul Mates Dissipate

Plot Summary: Jada Diamond Tanner has it all; she is successful male model photographer who is engaged to her true soul mate, Wellington Jones.  As Jada and Wellington’s wedding date nears, Jada meets Wellington’s well-off family, and conniving mother Cynthia.  Determined to make sure Wellington marries the right type of woman Cynthia invites an old friend of Wellington’s, Melanie, to visit for a while.  Jada soon learns her soul mate may not be faithful, and finds herself challenging what she thought was destiny.

Subject Headings:  Love stories, African-American; African-American women; Soul mates; Triangles (Interpersonal relations); Men/women relations; Fiancés

Appeal: compelling, fast-paced, dramatic, evocative, recognizable, cinematic, complex, open-ended, plot-centered, plot twists, racy, rich and famous, sexually explicit, steamy, strong language, tragic, contemporary, urban, lush, candid, didactic, edgy, melodramatic, romantic, accessible, concise, conversational, natural, simple

Similar Authors and works (fiction): So You Call Yourself a Man by Carl Weber (plot twists, racy, melodramatic); Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby (dramatic, plot twists, fast-paced); The Other Women by Eric Jerome Dickey (dramatic, racy, plot twists)

Similar Authors and works (non-fiction): Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey (candid, accessible, conversational); Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans (candid, rich and famous, edgy), Have you Meet Miss Jones? By Tarsha Jones (steamy, contemporary, candid)

Name: Michelle K

The Lone Ranger, Volumes 1 and 2

March 18, 2009

Author: Matthews, Brett (writer) and Cariello, Sergio (illustrator)
Title: The Lone Ranger
Genre: Graphic Novel; Western
Publication Date: 2007; 2008
Number of Pages: 160 p.; 140 p.
Geographical Setting: Texas, Wyoming, other Western locations
Time Period: 1869
Series: The Lone Ranger. Serial comic book, series continues to present

Plot Summary: A “reboot” of the iconic Western story—which has been a serial staple for decades, on radio, in film, on television, and in books and comics—Brett Matthews and Sergio Cariello’s new comic The Lone Ranger goes back to the roots of the mysterious masked hero, skillfully and engagingly revealing his family history, his the origin of his friendship with Tonto, his motivation to become a masked vigilante, and the development of his particular “no-kill” moral code. The hero’s origins are revealed in flashbacks presented throughout the series, and the first twelve issues (collected in six-issue hardbacks) sets up his transformation into the Lone Ranger and his quest to find and bring to justice the man responsible for the death of his family. While faithful to the source mythology, the new series does make some changes to the “classic” version of the characters. The author and artist collaborated carefully to make sure that Tonto, the Native American man who joins the Lone Ranger’s quest, was a more three-dimensional, less stereotypical character with his own backstory and motivations and relieving him of his broken English and unquestioning devotion. The interior and cover art is vivid and atmospheric, beautifully capturing the Western landscapes and framing the action and characters within it.

Readers who turn to this incarnation of The Lone Ranger because of a childhood affection for the 1950s TV series will be pleased with the detail and care given to the characters but may be surprised by the graphic violence portrayed. The Lone Ranger’s no-kill code does not entirely prevent him from committing other acts of violence, and most of the other characters have no qualms about killing. This is a comic meant for teens and adults, not children. The series won the 2006 Eisner Award winner for Best New Series and Best Cover Artist, and True West magazine’s awarded the series the “Best Western Comic Book of the Year” in their 2009 Best of the West Source Book.

Subject Headings: Lone Ranger; Tonto; Western stories; Texas; Texas Rangers; adventure; comics and graphic novels; serial publications; series characters; interracial friendship; vengeance; law and justice; vigilantes; Old West.

Appeal: action-oriented, award-winner, character-centered, cinematic, colorful, darker, detailed characterization, detailed setting, details of Old West, details of Texas Rangers, dramatic, engaging, episodic, evocative, explicitly violent, faithful characterization, familiar characters, flashbacks, hard-edged, melodramatic, menacing atmosphere, psychological, recognizable characters, rural atmospheric, series characters, strong secondary characters, suspenseful, sympathetic characters, vivid, well-developed characters

Similar Fiction Authors and Works:

· Rangers of the Lone Star. Zane Grey. (Classic Western author, Texas Rangers)

· Lonesome Dove. Larry McMurtry. (character driven Western featuring retired Texas Rangers; see also McMurtry’s “prequels” featuring the characters’ careers in the Rangers.)

· Bat Lash: Guns and Roses. Peter Brandvold and Sergio Aragones (writers); John Severin (illustrator). (Comics and graphic novels, Western, update of classic Western comic book character)

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

  • Lone Star Justice: The First Century of the Texas Rangers. Robert M. Utley (history of the Texas Rangers in the 19th century)
  • Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State. Randolph B. Campbell. (Texas history)
  • Hollywood’s West: The American Frontier in Film, Television, and History. Peter C. Rollins and John E. O’Connor, editors. (essays about Hollywood’s interpretations of the West)

Name: Cynthia