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King of King Court

by Travis Dandro

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244759,789 (3.44)None
A dunamic and devastating memoir about the cycle of trauma caused by addiction within one familyFrom a child's-eye view, Travis Dandro recounts growing up with a drug-addicted birth father, alcoholic step-dad, and overwhelmed mother. As a kid, Dandro would temper the tension of his every day with flights of fancy, finding refuge in toys and animals and insects rather than the unpredictable adults around him. Dandro perceptively details the effects of poverty and addiction on a family while maintaining a child's innocence for as long as he can.King of King Court spans from Travis's early childhood through his teen years, focusing not only on the obviously abusive actions, but also on the daily slights and snubs that further strain relations between him and his parents. Alongside Dandro's birth father committing crimes and shooting up, King of King Court lingers on scenes of him criticizing Travis and his siblings. Dandro gives equal heft to these anecdotes, emphasizing how damaging even relatively slight traumas can be to a child's worldview.As Travis matures into young adulthood and begins to understand the forces shaping his father's toxic behaviours, the story becomes even more nuanced. Travis is empathetic to his father's own tragic history, but unable to escape the cycle of misconduct and reprisals they are caught in. King of King Court is a revelatory autobiography that examines trauma, addiction, and familial relations in a unique and sensitive way.… (more)
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Showing 4 of 4
Literary Merit: Good
Characetrization: Great
Recommend: Yes
Level: high school

I’ve really been enjoying graphic memoirs lately so I wanted to give this a try. This story is about the destructive, toxic patterns people can’t get themselves out of and how it affects kids. Travis’s father becomes addicted to drugs after his brother suicide and is violent and abusive to those around him. Travis’s mom wants what’s best for her family but is also unable to escape an abusive relationship. Travis and his brothers witness events that are harmful and abusive with the adults in their lives causing more pain than they protect them from. I think this story shows how these cycles can ruin lives and just how hard it is to escape them. ( )
  SWONroyal | Mar 6, 2020 |
***Graphic novel about the author’s childhood; some abuse and drug use scenes. Black line illustrations range from intricate to simple cartoon and back again showing various emotions and action. ( )
  SWONroyal | Dec 12, 2019 |
Literary Merit: Good
Characterization: Excellent
Recommended: Recommended
Level: High School and above

This was quite an interesting one. King of King Court is Travis Dandro’s childhood autobiography told in the graphic novel format. The artwork was simple and enjoyable and easy to follow, and I really liked his style. The story is quite heartbreaking as it depicts Travis, beginning at the age of 6, as he is introduced to his birth father. From there, Travis grows up dealing with said birth father having a drug problem, his step-father having a drinking problem, and a whole lot of drama that stems from the two.

The graphic novel shows everything happening from Travis’s POV, with a childlike filter overtop. The way he uses his imagination to escape is very telling and I would imagine a way a lot of children try and escape rough parts of their lives.

This is a very emotional graphic novel, and some scenes are hard to stomach. It’s difficult to see Travis’s mother go through everything and still continue to give his father chances until she just can’t anymore. It’s heartbreaking to see someone so overcome with addiction that they’d do literally anything to get a fix.

Overall, I’d say this is a very interesting, informative read that may appeal to a lot of kids who may be in similar situations. ( )
  SWONroyal | Sep 9, 2019 |
A pretty standard graphic memoir about a childhood marred by domestic turmoil and violence. Most of the problems stem from the relationship of the author and his mother with his biological father, a troubled man dealing with his own trauma, drug addiction, and anger issues. The page layouts are ambitious, cinematic and laden with symbolism, though the finished art lacks the polish to really pull them off. But for making the attempt, I’ll forego deducting a rating star for the annoying and useless dream sequences. (God, I hate those things.) ( )
  villemezbrown | Sep 8, 2019 |
Showing 4 of 4
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For Mom
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Auburn, Massachusetts
August 1980

"Bye Travis, come again soon!"
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A dunamic and devastating memoir about the cycle of trauma caused by addiction within one familyFrom a child's-eye view, Travis Dandro recounts growing up with a drug-addicted birth father, alcoholic step-dad, and overwhelmed mother. As a kid, Dandro would temper the tension of his every day with flights of fancy, finding refuge in toys and animals and insects rather than the unpredictable adults around him. Dandro perceptively details the effects of poverty and addiction on a family while maintaining a child's innocence for as long as he can.King of King Court spans from Travis's early childhood through his teen years, focusing not only on the obviously abusive actions, but also on the daily slights and snubs that further strain relations between him and his parents. Alongside Dandro's birth father committing crimes and shooting up, King of King Court lingers on scenes of him criticizing Travis and his siblings. Dandro gives equal heft to these anecdotes, emphasizing how damaging even relatively slight traumas can be to a child's worldview.As Travis matures into young adulthood and begins to understand the forces shaping his father's toxic behaviours, the story becomes even more nuanced. Travis is empathetic to his father's own tragic history, but unable to escape the cycle of misconduct and reprisals they are caught in. King of King Court is a revelatory autobiography that examines trauma, addiction, and familial relations in a unique and sensitive way.

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