‘Sheets’ the graphic novel by Brenna Thummler is so beautifully drawn that even if it didn’t have a story at all, I would probably still give it a 4/5 stars for the art. It does have an interesting premise though – Thirteen-year-old Marjorie Glatt runs her family laundry business as her recently widowed father is yet to come to terms with her mother’s death. Friendless at school, and forced to deal with mean customers post classes, Marjorie feels invisible and unappreciated; but things only get more difficult when the ghost of Wendell, a boy who died too young, decides to play in Glatt’s laundry and create a mess. An evil neighbor who eyes her business doesn’t make things any easier.
The artwork had a dreamy pastel touch to it and Brenna Thummler uses a lot of pleasant pink and blue shades throughout the story, lending an uplifting mood to the tale. Readers can almost feel the autumn breeze moving through the panels, some of which look wallpaper worthy. Each character is also drawn with a lot of personality, although Marjorie has the most forgettable face, probably a deliberate decision – she isn’t the ‘popular pretty girl’, but an average teen trying to get through her day without disasters. It was Brenna’s art that won me over while reading graphic novel adaptation of ‘Anne of Green Gables’ and she recreates the same kind of magic with her panels again.
‘Sheets’ is like a slow soft splash in warm water, the kinds you want to take a dip in. The novel mixes Marjorie’s slow mundane but difficult life with the supernatural magical world of Wendell the ghost, who only appears as a sheet. Brenna builds a cute little ghost world, where dead sheets attend therapy and aren’t allowed to go to the realm of the living. But Wendell is a trouble-making rebel who shakes up the protagonist’s life.
Readers cannot help but empathize with Marjorie, who is representational of so many youngster prematurely pushed into the adult world, burdened with responsibilities that should’ve been shouldered by someone else. I was glad that the creator gave her some human friends at the end, or this could’ve been a depressing novel about a lonely young girl becoming pals with a ghost. Oh wait, that sounds like ‘Casper’! Anyway, I really enjoyed reading ‘Sheets’ and there’s a sequel too.
It’s a 4/5 from me.
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