Rating: 4 out of 5.

The opening pages of Aude Picault’s graphic novel ‘Amalia’ are filled with domestic chaos, as a couple tries to keep everything under control in their household. Between Amalia’s torpedo like toddler who is always creating a mess and her teen step-daughter who is constantly picking a fight with the dad, things always seem ‘too much’. She is forced to take a step back when she is diagnosed with a ‘burnout’ and asked to go on two weeks leave.

So, essentially, ‘Amalia’ is a chaotic but charming graphic novel about just how stressful life can be for an average middle-class couple, especially on the back of a pandemic that makes the future seem uncertain. Aude Picault’s simple, doodle-style artwork with its abundant use of whites and peachy tones, is a delightful feast for the eyes. The artist intentionally avoids boxing the artwork inside any set pattern, meaning there are no lines or borders demarcating one scene from the other. This choice may cause the story to seem a bit disorganized at first glance, but it is undoubtedly deliberate. The free-flowing messy art perfectly complements the book’s content. Aude also gives readers a break in between all the crazy stuff with some beautiful nature-themed pages in between.

I like how the author shows life from both Amalia’s and her teen step-daughter Nora’s perspective. On one hand Amalia is overwhelmed with her daily responsibilities, Nora goes through the usual teen motions of being enamored by a social-media personality and ending up being disillusioned by real life. Overall, ‘Amalia’ turned out to be a breezy read that I finished in one go.

It’s a 4 on 5 from me.

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