McFadzean, Dakota – To Know You’re Alive


To Know You’re Alive

What an absolute roller coaster of a book, and I mean that in the best possible way. This is a collection of Dakota’s stories, a few of which I’ve reviewed here from other books (although I either got an important detail wrong in the Danny story or he changed it slightly for this book). So if you’ve read everything he’s ever done, I guess you might have already seen more than a few of these stories, but believe you me, seeing them all put together, contrasting them all against each other, is worth the price of admission. There are about a dozen stories here in all, and although I’ll try to hit some of the high points, please be aware that I won’t be able to do most of them justice in a review. Which is the way it often is, but you know, sometimes I feel like saying it anyway. His first story accurately captures the easy an uncomplicated magic of childhood, how flying and creating life are the easiest things in the world if you don’t actually try to do them. Then there’s the piece about Danny, which I reviewed before (but I’d swear he’s updated it for this book). He’s new in school, had to leave his previous school and finds it impossible to make friends. Mostly because he’s not trying and is, to all outside appearances, a terrible kid. It’s a testament to Dakota’s skills that it’s impossible not to feel sympathy for him when it’s all said and done. There’s the casual, almost unnoticed horror of Good Find, the escalating dares of The Truck, the terrifying coming to terms of Ghostie, the bragging time travelers of Posthumans, the switch from mundane to deeply unsettling in Debug Mode, and what it might actually be like to be the first person to discover an alien. But wait, there’s more! The two page spread of faux newspaper comic strips has so much goodness that I’m not even going to describe anything about it; once you get this book you’ll be glad to be unspoiled. And somehow, after all this joy, madness, terror and hope, he manages to finish up with a raw and and honest look at parenting his small child, the balancing act of trying to stay a good person while doing so and somehow finding a moment or two for his own life in the midst of it all. Well, A child, anyway. I have no idea if it’s meant to be autobiographical. This is a thoroughly impressive book, and I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough. $20

Posted on December 28, 2020, in Reviews and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.

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