Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir by Tom Hart. St. Martin’s Press, 2016. 9781250049940.

rosalie-lightning“Late November, 2011, [Rosalie] died suddenly with no warning, or with tons of warning signs — we still don’t know.”

This is cartoonist Hart’s memoir about his daughter Rosalie: her short life, her sudden and unexpected death, and trying to figure out how to live in a world without her. The book made me love her, from her joy at watching Totoro to her favorite story ((Louis) Night Salad by Metaphrog) to her everyday delight with the world. I swear I can hear her voice when I read the pages of the book. But when Hart remembers her, his feelings bleed through, and puts himself and his raw emotions right on the page with these happy memories. Right on the page with Rosalie saying words she loved like “Bumbites!” (bug bites) is a section of “…words we never got to teach you.”

This book was breaking everyone’s heart, so I didn’t read it for a long time. Then one of the folks I know at Macmillan admitted she could barely even pick it up (she has a little kid at home), and I took that as a challenge. I’m super glad I did. It’s hard to get through, but it’s worth it — even great books rarely make me feel this much. It’s strange and a bit disrespectful to just flip through and skim it as I work on this review, so I’m putting it on top of the stack of books to read tonight.

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