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The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot
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The Tale of One Bad Rat

by Bryan Talbot

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3681929,459 (3.98)38

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Helen Potter is a homeless runaway teen in England. She's escaped her sexually abusive father and takes refuge with her Beatrix Potter books and sketches. Memory flashbacks haunt her daily. She's taken in by fellow street kids but takes off when one their cats kills her beloved pet rat. She ends up in the countryside of the English Lake District where she's taken in by a kindly couple who run a restaurant. Helen would be content to stay there forever but realizes she must first confront her father.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
I often pick up a graphic novel when I walk by where they are on display at the Santa Clara City Library at Central Park. There are so many I usually let a cover or a title draw me to borrow a book. This cover drew me because Neil Gaiman wrote a foreword for it and it is an odd cover. It turns out the author/illustrator started out planning to write a mainstream story about a character that runs to the Lakes Country in England where Beatrix Potter lived and worked. As motivation for the character to run away he chose child abuse. The issue was so absorbing and important the author/illustrator had to change his focus onto the problem of child abuse. The journey to the Lakes Country becomes more of a background theme. I think this has become a classic and an important book in that it helps victims of child abuse to recognize they can talk about it and find help. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
A well done story of a girl fleeing sexual abuse and looking for heaing in the Lake District, home of Beatrix Potter, whom she idolizes. Beautiful art. ( )
  piemouth | Jun 10, 2014 |
Grade 9-12. Although readers rarely find stories about sexual abuse to be heart-warming, Talbot manages to create a strong and endearing main character in this fictional graphic novel. The story begins as the main character, Helen, is running away from home. As the story continues, readers get a glimpse of her past through flashbacks, implied details, and Helen's conversations with her pet rat. Loosely following the path of her hero, Beatrix Potter, Helen travels through urban and rural England until she reaches the lake district which was Potter's muse. Ahead of its time in addressing deep social issues, this story pulls no punches in its depictions of horrible family life, childhood sexual abuse, and the serious repercussions of both. Cleverly constructed like a Beatrix Potter story--and featuring Helen's own imitation near the end of the book--Talbot's comic tale seamlessly weaves setting, story, and subject into a beautiful whole. Recommended. ( )
  LeafingLight | Nov 13, 2012 |
Told in lovely Beatrix Potter style visuals, this is the tale of young Helen Potter, a runaway from home, living on the streets. As the story progresses, we find out why Helen's run away, and we see her deal with her history and come to terms with her highly dysfunctional family. In parallel, we get snippets of Beatrix Potter's life, another sad tale.

This was powerful stuff, tackling a difficult issue head on, which is highly commendable and definitely gets a good score for me on that alone. When this story was first written, the abuse that Helen had to deal with was often ignored, making the survivors feel completely alone and culpable. It was great seeing Talbot address this directly.

Of course, that was 15 years ago and now it's less of an unknown issue, although still shocking. This dated the story slightly for me, and the storyline itself was a bit too straightforward to be a favourite of mine. But I will be searching out more of Talbot's works when I get the chance, he's proven himself a talented artist and story teller with this book. ( )
2 vote wookiebender | May 11, 2012 |
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This graphic novel is one of the classics, a book that speaks to everyone and demonstrates the maturity of the medium. Its beauty encourages the spirit, providing hope for growth while overcoming a terrible past.
 
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for Mary
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Once upon a time, there was a very bad rat...
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A dark, blunt look at a homeless girl, Helen; the abuse that got her there, and the experiences and people that help improve her life.
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Helen Potter lived a happy life until she got lost in a nightmare of sexual abuse. Now she's on a journey... a journey which takes her through urban and rural England along the same path that another Potter, Beatrix Potter, once took. Across the decades, two lives touch, and Helen discovers that the strength of two is far greater than one.… (more)

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