Booklist gives Off Season a starred review

“Booklist Starred Review” / Booklist / Gordon Flagg / March 15, 2019

Sturm’s soberly bleak account of the disintegration of a family, set in the aftermath of the 2016
presidential election, is viewed through the eyes of a struggling contractor newly separated from his wife
and dealing with an accumulating series of setbacks: a boss who ducks out on paying him, a car accident,
his mother’s cancer diagnosis. His stressful life makes what should be minor mishaps—a misplaced cell
phone, a forgotten permission slip for his daughter’s field trip—seem more like small-scale calamities
even as he derives fleeting comfort from outings with his kids and Thanksgiving with his family. No
stereotyped blue-collar Trump supporter—he had a Bernie sticker on the truck he was forced to sell to
afford his new apartment—he finds that the melancholic post-election climate reflects and reinforces his
despondency. Sturm’s treatment of this poignant material is quietly masterful; elegantly simple line
drawings toned with washed-out greys reflect the somber mood as well as the New England winter
landscapes. His restrained approach uses uniform panels, two to a page, and economical character designs
that depict the family members as anthropomorphized canines, which serves as a distancing device. Sturm
has responded to the present-day raw nerves and sense of dislocation with an eloquently relatable work
deserving of a wider readership beyond followers of graphic novels.

Share on Facebook
Share on Tumblr
Share via Email