Title: Hey, Kiddo
Author: Jarrett J. Korsoczka
Published: October 9, 2018
Genre: memoir, non-fiction, graphic novel
My Rating: ★★★★☆
This review is spoiler free!
I was given a free review copy from Graphix/Scholastic in exchange for a review. This does not skew my review in any one direction.
Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Raised by his colorful grandparents, who adopted him because his mother was an incarcerated heroin addict, Krosoczka didn’t know his father’s name until he saw his birth certificate when registering for a school ski trip. Hey, Kiddo traces Krosoczka’s search for his father, his difficult interactions with his mother, his day-to-day life with his grandparents, and his path to becoming an artist.
To date, nearly one million people have viewed Krosoczka’s TED Talk about his experience. Artwork from his childhood and teen years will be incorporated into the original illustrations for the book.
(This synopsis is from Goodreads.)
If you haven’t already gleaned from the blurb, this is a memoir of the author’s life growing up. He grew up with a mother who was addicted to heroin and an absent father. He struggled with his relationship with his family and peers, but found solace in art.
At the end of the book, Krosoczka reflects how he wanted to write this story to reach young people who are going through similar situations as he did when he was growing up. I think that in itself makes the story so important.
The artwork is not what I’m used to in graphic novels. For the most part, artists draw digitally. In this story, most of the artwork was done by hand and scanned. I think it gives it a more personal feel to the novel.
The story itself was a blend of confusion, despair, suffering, growth, and hope. Jarrett loved his mother, despite the times of disappointment when she broke her promises. He loved his grandparents, who raised him because his mother couldn’t. Their relationships were not perfect, but he learned to cherish the people he cared about as he grew older.
Although parts of the story made me tear up a bit, the memoir ends on a high note, the author reflecting on where he is today and how he got there after graduating high school and going off to art school.
Overall, Hey, Kiddo was a short but impactful read. If you find yourself with 20 or so minutes to spare I would highly recommend reading it.
Jarrett “Ja” Krosoczka
Despite all the hardships he faced, he took what was given to him and turned it into something positive.
She’s the Jarrett’s mother. I think she meant well and genuinely wanted to kick the addiction. Like the author said, she was a good person at heart who made poor decisions early in her life that affected her down the line.
Ja’s grandfather was the steady rock in the storm.
The grandmother was very colorful. I don’t know how else to explain her.
Every person needs a best friend, right?
I give this book 4 / 5 BBC Sherlock heads. I highly recommend reading it.
Until next time….