Friday, May 6, 2011

Bayou by Jeremy Love

Lee, a young black girl has always played with Lily, who is white.  When a creature from the swamp swallows Lily, Lee's father is accused of kidnapping her.  Lee must save her father from being lynched, but to do this she must enter a strange world of monsters, and she doesn't have much time.

This was seriously creepy.  When I finished reading the first volume, I sat for a minute and then said, "What?"  Horror is not my favorite, and I didn't really enjoy reading Bayou, but I read the second volume anyway in the hopes that things would start to make more sense.  They did, but it was still pretty horrifying and upsetting.

There's a really interesting mix of fantasy, horror and history in this book.  The fantasy world Lee enters with terrifying monsters pretty accurately reflects the equally terrifying real world where black people could be snatch off the street and killed without question or trial.

Lee knows the only way she can save her father is to find Lily, so she goes after the monster that took her.  There she meets another monster, Bayou, who helps her.  Before Lee realizes that Bayou is friendly though, she's scared, runs away, and falls into a pit and skewers herself on a pointed post.  Bayou uses magic to revive her, but now Lee has even less time to find Lily and free her father before the magic wears off and she dies.  Yikes.

Lee is also helped by the spirit of Billy Glass, and black boy who was lynched for looking at a white woman.  Lee retrieved his body from the swamp where it had been thrown, and now Billy helps her in the spirit world.

In the second volume, the spirit world and the real world cross over more.  Lee continues her journey which because more horrifying and dangerous, and we also start to learn more about Lee's background, which characters from the spirit world play a part in.

Lee is a great character.  She's fierce and determined, but she's also still a little kid and she's scared and confused.  She's set on saving her father though, and she won't let anything, not even her approaching death, stop her.

The illustrations are beautiful in a morbid kind of way.  The colors are very dark, and while not gratuitous, the violence of the worlds Lee is in is clearly shown.  It certainly was a striking picture seeing Lee impaled at the bottom of that pit.

While this certainly wasn't my personal favorite, I still think it was excellent.  Bayou was originally a webcomic and the third print volume has yet to be published.

1 comment:

  1. I've only read the first volume, and I thought it was pretty macabre in it's own right. The story seems interesting enough, and I do adore Lee. She's a tenacious little girl who is bound and determined to free her father, and for her to go through all of that to get Lily back after what the little brat did, I'd have to be proud of her for that, too. :) Thank you for the review, and it inspires me to read the second volume.


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