Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman by Sharon Rudahl

The best part of this book is Emma Goldman's life as a radical anarchist. If you don't know much about her, then this book is a fun starting point. Rudahl explores many of the key periods of her life, from her departure from Russia at a young age, to her organizing years in the U.S., to her eventual deportation. The novel spans her entire life, giving readers a concise overview of Goldman's compelling biography.

Unlike other accounts of her life, Rudahl enters into the intricacies of Goldman's everyday, giving us a glimpse into Goldman's many key relationships. We find out that she was as ethical and spirited in her personal relationship as she was in her public persona as one of the leading radicals in early 20th century America.

Despite the exciting narrative, one Rudahl puts together based on Goldman's auto-biography, I struggled through much of the novel. I found Rudahl's drawings almost distracting in their busyness. In addition, the structure of her panels left me regularly confused as to where to skip to next. The story itself remains strong, it'd be pretty difficult to take the life out of Goldman's story, but Rudahl's water-colouresque renderings left me wondering how much i would've enjoyed the story otherwise.

I'd say pick up the graphic novel at the nearest library, read about Emma Goldman's inspiring life, and thank Rudahl for sharing it in this format.


Lilah said...

Good post.

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