Nostalgia is a big thing for geeks. Literally meaning ‘aching for a return home’ it’s typically used by cynics who will always tell you that things were better in their day. I felt a fair amount of it last night at a party as I listened to songs which remind me of the good old days.
And it’s the good old days that the main characters in Rachael Smith’s new graphic novel ‘House Party’ are out to recapture.
Finding Michelle, Siobhan, and Neil now we learn about each of their passions and how real life has taken them down a different path to the ones they’d rather be on. Michelle used to be a writer and the darling of the university cool kids but now she works in an office and misses that great inspiration, while Siobhan’s art and Neil’s stand-up have gone much the same way.
In order to regain their rockstar status, the three decide to throw one of their legendary house parties, just like the old days – and with Smith’s compelling mix of relate-able characters, humour and drama you’ll find out how that turns out for them.
All my life, nostalgia is something I’ve struggled to get my head around. Even when those best times of my life were supposedly happening, no doubt I’ll have been too busy fretting about something or other to properly enjoy it. This near-existential angst is a universal experience and within the pages of House Party, Smith has expressed brilliantly those exact same struggles and curiosities we all feel about the way things used to be and how we strayed so far away from them.
As I mentioned in an earlier review – for the equally wonderful I Am Fire – you wouldn’t expect such deep and meaningful issues to hit home in a comic when there are far weightier books to do the job, but here as always Smith has created a full and frightening world in which the reader can understand and sympathise with her characters as they make the hard decisions and express their turmoil very effectively, with great writing and art working so well together.
If you’re of that certain age where life was just better back then, dammit – I can’t recommend House Party enough.