School bullying is universally decried, bemoaned, and condemned. Newspapers, magazines, television, and movies all reflect the ugly truth … bullying is not only on the rise, but becoming more dangerous every day. Whether it’s a teenager committing suicide as a result of a Facebook posting or a group of schoolchildren taunting another autistic child and filming it for the “entertainment” of others, the longest-lasting, deepest-scarring impact of bullying is emotional, not physical. Failure to understand this has handicapped an already-insipid series of failed “solutions.”
Once in a while, I find it’s refreshing to read graphic novels - the images can be so wonderfully riveting, which adds to the emotional power of the story. Heart Transplant is one that is literally heartfelt, and tugs hard on the strings of your heart as it tackles not just the issues of bullying, but also that of family.
Final Verdict: Gripping. Keep a tight hold on your heart.
Some books don’t get put down when you finish reading them. Some books stay on your fingers like tar.
Cain is rough. Jim Thompson lingers.
But Andrew Henry Vachss…
It’s not specifically his life that he’s writing about. A man who’s spent his life protecting children and dealing with the aftermath of child abuse, Vachss’ rage is a tangible thing, so his character Burke has a depth, a fire that will not be quenched…
Sure, there were sociopaths in Noir Fiction before Burke, but what I think sets the character apart is the fact that Vachss has first hand knowledge of what goes into creating a career offender, the types of humiliation and violation that a person has to suffer to strip him of humanity.
But that’s not the end of the story. It’s not just the rage. Burke is also a character that has been redeemed. Despite all the hardship and all the pain, he’s made a family for himself, a community that stand by him, and this is what saves him from being a monster.
His adventures, as a result, co-mingle revenge and hope in a way that I’ve never seen done before. That every book deals with Burke hunting down and killing a different predatory sexual offender, I know makes him a hard read for most, but if you’re looking to take a walk into hell, you couldn’t have a better guide…