cover image Roots


Tara O’Connor. Top Shelf, $19.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-60309-417-7

O’Connor’s down-to-earth graphic memoir follows her travels in Ireland after a divorce, as she strikes out in search of her family history. As she recounts in this black-and-white travelogue, O’Connor allows herself to become vulnerable and open to new experiences, despite the scars of her past relationship. Her marriage is recalled as “years of cold, passionless pecks and forced hugs... something I’d never wish on anyone,” but despite this specter, she warms to romance with an Irish traveling companion, whom she’d met on Twitter some years before but only met in person for the first time on this journey. Throughout the rainy bus rides, encounters in packed pubs and parties, and late-night conversations, O’Connor shares snippets about her ancestors. However, most of her research into the O’Connors ends up incomplete, so these become largely illustrations of the faces she imagines to be attached to names on immigration and marriage records, rather than satisfying stories. O’Connor’s interactions with Irish locals provide light entertainment, and she celebrates newfound friendships and love in this chronicle of “searching for your roots” to reach towards the future. Journaling through a post-break-up trip abroad may not break new ground as a book, but O’Connor’s personable style provides an enjoyably intimate armchair escape. (Nov.)