A Graphic Novel by Quentin Zuttion
The White Lady by Quentin Zuttion is a bittersweet look at perhaps one of the most uncelebrated but wholly necessary professions out there – assisted living and/or hospice nurses. The main character, Estelle, tries to put on a happy face and live a normal life, but everything comes to a sobering halt from time to time when people that she has grown to love come to the end of their lives. One would think that would harden someone, but Estelle hangs on and tries to be there for her residents creating sometimes inseparable bonds. The gentle and soft artwork gives way to an important commentary on how we as a society treat our elderly, and the utter devastation that dementia can do to a person.
“Estelle is a nurse at an assisted living center, where she spends her days caring for the residents, taking part in their card games, and tending to them as the end draws near. But dealing with their unfulfilled dreams and lonely final moments is no easy task. As she gets closer to the residents, Estelle experiences a new, inebriating freedom, but also risks losing herself along the way… A touching, far-reaching tale told from the rarely seen perspective of nursing home caretakers.”
I don’t want to scare anyone away from this book thinking that it’s heavy social commentary with a scathing rebuke of our modern world, if anything this book is more gentle in its approach. It reminded me a bit of an older book by Europe Comics, that I read last year, Forget me Not, in that the bleakness of the subject matter sat in total opposition to the almost “wholesome” presentation of such heavy topics. It’s a tightrope for sure, but the author has pulled it off here. The artwork is minimalist watercolor-styled pictures in a blue monochrome, something that definitely adds to the atmosphere.
Overall, this wasn’t an easy read by any means, but the story is so touching that you can’t help but come away with that much more appreciation for what care-workers have to go through day after day. As with any comic from this publisher, they find a way to tackle subjects that most American comic companies would easily ignore, thus making this that much more special for someone tired of endless superhero books. If you don’t mind the subject matter, and a possibility of being sad after reading a book, this is a well done story.
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NOTE: I received a free preliminary, and likely unedited copy of this book from Netgalley for the purposes of providing an honest, unbiased review of the material. Thank you to all involved.