Little Mama by Halim Mahmouidi, translated by Montana Kane. Lion Forge, 2019. 9781549307959
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre: Realistic fiction
What did you like about the book? The setting is “1984. Somewhere in France.” Brenda was born when her mother was 15. Although her mom’s backstory is not explicit, it is clear that she is mentally ill and prone to bad choices. She abuses and neglects Brenda, and hooks up with an equally messed up man named Vincent. They have another child, who ends up getting gravely injured in the home. Told in episodic flashbacks from a therapist’s office, this is a dark tale of mental illness and child abuse. The art uses a black, white and gray palette, successfully echoing the story’s mood.
Anything you didn’t like about it? The volume of repetitive violence was off-putting and stressful. The story goes back and forth from the dialogue in the therapist’s office to childhood drama, and it is sometimes hard to tell when events are taking place. Lastly, the artist’s depictions of babies and small children are off.
To whom would you recommend this book? A difficult and grim read for older teens and adults who like gritty realistic fiction.
Who should buy this book? High schools and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Graphic fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: November 24, 2019