Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Burnout (Graphic Novel) by Rebecca Donner, Illustrated by Inaki Miranda

Rebecca Donner, the critically acclaimed author of Sunset Terrace, ventured onto the graphic novel scene with her first story in the genre called Burnout.  Illustrated by Inaki Miranda, Donner and him work together to create a realistic world in which the main character is both appealing and flawed simultaneously.  Every character we come in contact with in the book Donner lets us into their head and allows her readers to view the situation from their perspectives to better comprehend where everyone is coming from.  Known as a prose, play, and screen play writer Donner said that it wasn't terribly difficult to make the transition to writing a graphic novel.

Burnout is a story about love and handling the decisions we make in the midst of our relationships.  The story’s set in Elkridge, Oregon where Wynona hopes to acquire a fresh start for her daughter Danni and herself following the death of her late husband.  A fresh start meaning a new relationship with a man and hopefully a possible father-figure for her daughter.  Hank, Wynona’s employer turned boyfriend turned fiancé, is not the ideal role model.  As an aggressive alcoholic Hank is always thinking about himself and never listens to what anybody has to tell him.  His son Haskell, a devoted eco-terrorist has his heart set on teaching the government a lesson about harming the environment.  The main character is a teenager named Danni who struggles with her own emotions toward her potential step-brother Haskell and assists him in his rebel justice by spiking trees.  She comes to a roadblock between love and what is right.  In love with Haskell, Danni chooses what is right and realizes that once you cross a certain line things could never be the way they once were.  All good things don’t last forever and what good we do encounter there is always the risk having a burnout.

             This was my first time reading material written by Donner and I immediately made a personal connection with Danni.  She is a very relatable character who secretly wants to fill the void of a missing father and to be loved.  Everyone at one point or another struggles with the loss of a loved one and attempts/dreams to cope it as soon as possible.  Danni’s dreams in the story “ended up functioning as harbingers of things to come in the narrative” (Donner).  She foresaw events that she could not explain.  Donner intended to use the dream sequence not so much as a crutch to the narrative but hinting at the fact that there are things we should pay closer attention to when it comes to the decisions we make and the personal information we share with others.   

             I thought this novel was a story that needed to be told.  It addresses young girls to think about how the decisions they we make can affect their lives in a positive or a negative way.  We see this notion raised both with the mother’s relationship, Wynona and Hank, and the daughter’s relationship, Danni and Haskell.  This would be a good read for middle school and high school students.  Primarily geared toward the visual learners, Burnout is a story that any type of learner would be able to follow and derive meaning from.   



Laura Coyotl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JessicaGeelen said...

I like that you describe how you made a connection to the text. I think it's important to give students relatable texts to read and knowing that you are able to make and explain your connection says a lot about the text in that regard.
I liked your summary; I could definitely see myself reading and possibly teaching this book in the future!

Samantha said...

Sometimes when I think graphic novel, I automatically think comic book. "Burnout" seems like a very different story, and a great reminder that graphic novels and comics aren't one in the same. The story seems really interesting as well, with some more adult topics like alcoholism, that, while sometimes touchy subjects, are important for students to encounter in literature. I'd definitely like to read it after hearing your synopsis!

Laura Coyotl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura Coyotl said...

It is always hard when someone loses a parent, and it is equally hard for a child to see their parent find a new partner. In this case the potential father figure that Wynona finds is and alcoholic, which is definitely going to be hard for Wynona and her daughter Danni. It seems that in Danni’s new life she is going to have to make decisions between right and wrong.
Good Job on your post, Henry. Your post is informative, and I liked your summary of the book, you summarized the story without giving away the end and the details. You also gave your personal opinion, which is good because others will be able to see what your think of this story on a personal level. This book is good for those that are visual learners, because there are many young adults that are visual learners and these types of books help them. You also provided a good link to give readers a good overview of the book.