A girl whose brother is killed in a car accident finds herself torn between reality and fantasy, in Melissa Jane Osborne and Veronica Fish’s The Wendy Project, a beautiful and touching graphic novel.
After the accident, Wendy, the story’s sixteen-year-old protagonist, recalls seeing a boy looking much like Peter Pan flying away with her brother Michael. With Michael’s body unrecovered from the lake at the scene of the accident, Wendy wonders if it what she saw could have been real as she notices more and more “Neverland” influences—a police officer resembles Captain Hook, shadows seem to move independently of their owners, and a boy at school might be Peter Pan himself.
Quotations from J. M. Barrie are effectively placed at key points in the story, including this one, as Wendy chases a phantom she believes could be her brother: “The difference between HIM HER and the other BOYS GIRLS at such a time [was] that they knew it was MAKE-BELIEVE, while to HIM HER make-believe and TRUE were the EXACT SAME thing.”
Fish’s illustrations are a model of clear pictorial storytelling while also conveying the emotions that run thick throughout the book. Spot applications of vibrant color offset the mostly black-and-white images, as a recurring motif whenever the “Neverland” influence is present.
Wonderful in every sense of the word, The Wendy Project tells a moving story about not only the loss of a family member but also the loss of innocence as children become adults.
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