Every so often you read a book that stops you in your tracks. Luckily for me, I have had a few of these this year. The latest is this amazing graphic novel by Isabel Greenberg. I started this book and for about two hours I did not get up. And when I turned the last page - sadness crept into my life. I first heard about this from Simon over at Savidgereads and on Lauren at Laurenandthebooks on Youtube.
The One Hundred Nights of Hero is a story of love, a story of the power of women and a tale of the power of story itself. The book starts with a wager between two men - one man bets that he can seduce the other man's wife, Cherry, even though he feels that she is chaste and will never fall for the deceit. Cherry's husband gives the man 100 days to seduce his wife, leaving in order to give him full access to his wife.
Little does he know that Cherry is already in love with her maid Hero. They have been in love for years and Cherry is only married to her husband because she was forced to do so. What happens is that the man comes over on the first night and tells Cherry that she can either submit to him or he will eventually take what he wants. This is where Hero steps in and starts to tell the man different tales. And she is such an amazing story teller that she continues to distract him from his goal.
I don't want to go too much into the stories that Hero tells. Because really the all connect together and connect to her and her history. The magic is in the way that Hero not only tells an interesting tale. But that she really explains the power of stories and how woman have used stories - told orally, to overcome the misogyny that is embedded in a lot of modern culture. I was constantly surprised by the connections made between the stories. And, like all of the people in the book, found myself cheering both Cherry and Hero on to overcome the circumstances of their world and allow them to love each other freely.
I still have not talked about the amazing drawings that are this graphic novel. They are so well done! There is a powerful starkness to the drawing that focuses your eye on the most important aspect of each frame. They color pallet is just perfect. There is a section about the moon coming down to earth as a human that is done mainly in black and shades of white that is just so good.
I am pretty sure that I am going to be giving out this book out 100 times this year. I loved the story, the art and just about everything about the book. I know that Ms. Greenberg has another book out and I will be buying it as soon as possible. Please go get this now!