Comic book artist relates how his family lost their home in a 2017 California wildfire that consumed over 36,000 acres, destroyed more than 5,000 buildings and took 22 lives. The graphic novel format makes this story vivd and immediate (in fact, he wrote part of it as an online comic while he was living through the experience). It encapsulates the family’s loss, struggles to manage the aftermath of disaster and attempts at rebuilding their lives. Everything from the senseless immediacy of what they picked up to carry with them- things they didn’t think of or notice when fleeing the home, were simply gone forever. The shock when they came back and found it all burnt rubble. Descriptions of what the incredibly high temperatures in the fire did to vehicles, garage door frames and other metal items that you think of as kind of indestructible, was just flabbergasting to me. And yet they’d find small, ceramic items in the ashes, looking unharmed. Rebuilding was not easy. Lots of frustration with lack of assistance from certain agencies, or incomprehansible complications. Gratitude towards those who helped out- numerous volunteers and donations, family members stepping in, neighbors sharing experiences. Quite a few stories are inserted of other people that lived through the same fire, acquaintances or friends of the author. Some things in here just make you blink in frustration. Other moments can have the reader close to tears. What’s horrifying is this was just one of many wildfires that ravaged the region- and the problem seems to be ongoing, every year.
Borrowed from the public library.