When I first laid eyes on The Impostor's Daughter, I knew I was about to read a rather unique book: a memoir presented in graphic novel form. But once you go beyond the packaging, deep into Laurie Sandell's story, you will find that there is much more to The Impostor's Daughter than a flashy presentation. Sandell's memoir traces the path that she took to reveal the truth about her eloquent and heroic father--who may also be a liar of epic proportions--and the struggle Sandell went through to grapple with her own identity in the shadow of her father's.
Whether she got it from her father or not, Sandell has a great talent for storytelling; she knows how to draw the reader in and keep them captivated. Indeed, much of The Impostor's Daughter reads like a good suspense novel: a domineering and charismatic man is slowly revealed to be a huckster; who knows what the damage will be on those around him? Sandell seems to be aware of the element of mystery as she crafts the pacing extremely well; at any point in the story, she reveals just enough information to keep you hooked without giving away where the narrative will end up.
The book's weak point is, well, the "graphic" part of "graphic novel." Don't get me wrong, I don't have much experience with the genre, but the novels I have read--Persepolis, V for Vendetta--had significantly better artwork. Sandell includes artwork she made as a child in several frames, and the talent displayed in the rest of book barely surpasses her childhood capabilities. I wonder if she would not have been better served to hire a dedicated artist to sketch out her ideas instead.
But at the end of the day, the artwork doesn't distract from the story, which is very near flawless. My one piece of advice is this: approach this as a novel with pictures rather than a graphic novel, and you won't be disappointed.
Now for the giveaway! Thanks to Anna and the good people at Hachette, I have five copies of The Impostor's Daughter to give away.
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