Author/Illustrator: Tohby Riddle
My rating: 4.5 of 5
This is the story of winged, magical beings who quietly come to our world, mostly unnoticed and unappreciated. It is the story of one who became lost, alone and uncared for. And it is the story of a small group of individuals who were different, who noticed, and who determined that this amazing being would not be forgotten.
Unforgotten is really an remarkable book. I hesitate to call it a graphic novel, although that is what it is marketed as. It’s really more of an illustrated poem almost. There’s no particular meter or rhyme, so it’s not traditional poetry. But the sparse, carefully chosen words and the way it’s written in three sections with the first and third parts echoing each other makes it seem poetic . . . although I didn’t actually realize this until I saw the page in the back where the entire text of the book is printed out together. When you’re reading it, it’s dispersed in tiny pieces amidst the artwork so you hardly notice you’re reading at all. And the artwork is really something amazing in itself. It’s this incredibly complex and surprising collage of photographs and drawings, all jumbled together in a way that should be discordant, but that actually works quite effectively. Especially since the “angels” are placed as this simple, white drawing in the middle of all the crazy photographs, making this center of calm and quiet in the midst of it all. Also, I think it’s great that this is such an ageless book–it’s written such that children and adults alike can enjoy it, and I couldn’t really even say which audience it was written for. I would definitely recommend Unforgotten for readers of all sorts and all ages.
On a side note, it was weird for me to read Unforgotten at the time that I did. It’s been too recently that I watched “Blink” and “The Time of Angels”/”Flesh and Stone” . . . so the whole angels coming to earth without, initially, a clear explanation of what they’re doing there, was actually a bit eerie for me. I read the whole first section with a sense of foreboding! It was only the second time around, when I’d established that these angels are benevolent beings, that I was able to enjoy Unforgotten as it was meant to be read.