Booklist Reviews King of King Court

“King of King Court” / Booklist / Summer Hayes / September 15, 2019

Dandro was only six years old when he learned about his biological dad. For years, he and “Dad Dave” had a tenuous relationship that, while punctuated with happiness, was ultimately destroyed by his father’s drug addiction. Travis, along with his siblings and mother, moved frequently during his childhood, shuffling between various family members after his mother separated from his stepfather.

While Travis was clearly loved, poverty, addiction, and trauma figured prominently in his life, and the few moments of calm stability, such as a safe night at a loving grandparent’s home, are deeply poignant. The panels feature detailed backgrounds and simply drawn figures simmering with rage and tension, resulting in an unsettling memoir that captures the essence of Dandro’s unstable childhood.

The unease is amplified by his father’s expressionless face, surreal dream sequences, and the tightly squiggled lines Dandro prefers for shading. Viewed through the innocent eyes of childhood and those of a world-weary young adult, this is a tough but illuminating read.

This title has been recommended for young adult readers:

YA/M: Teens graduating from Jarrett Krosoczka's Hey, Kiddo (2018) might appreciate this memoir. 

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