I am in need of writing this post because since I read the comic a couple of days ago, I am drowning in this tide of emotions that is barely letting my brain concentrate on other topics. This story hit me so hard and it is difficult to explain why but at the basics it is human nature that permeates the whole book.
This may be the reason why I love this kind of story. I mean, in my top ten books of all time there is only one sci fi but the rest are just heartwarming or heartbreaking stories that are in fact human stories.
Stories of kids that find their ways into the world, stories about teachers who found penguins half buried in oil drips, you name it. You give me this kind of story and I will be your forever.
This one won’t be a review, it will instead be a diary of all the emotions that the story left me so it will contain a certain amount of spoilers and, as per the nature of the post itself, it will be incredibly personal and absolutely subjective. The only objectivity will be the fact that I am suggesting everybody to read this graphic novel.
Who is Holly?
Written by Steven Ingram, Holly is the story of Holly Black, a girl living in a remote Scottish Island. She is full of the island and wants to leave to the mainland and during the story she will interact with people and she will need to see the pros and cons of the Island.
Between family and new friends Holly had to find the way to detach herself from her little world she is growing up with.
She will need to overcome friends, family, the final school exams and everybody on the island that loves her and wants the best for her.
Even though everybody tells her that passing her exams is extremely important since it can be useful for her future she doesn’t think so and this culminates in her failing her exam but at the end as she writes it in a letter to her mum, not everybody is done for school.
Another colossal point in Holly’s story is her mother that, as a parent, loves her so much. There is this massive crack between Holly leaving her mother alone on the island and her mother wanting the best for her daughter and looking for her happiness. And their relationship is salted by the fact that the father is a military worker in a military base and this make him mostly absent during her life and regardless she tries to maintain a relationship and this will get his turn on the bad at the end of the story.
The meaning we are aiming to
I personally never lived on an island but I interacted with people that lived (and some still do) in remote places and yes many of them feel the urge to go to more accessible areas. They want to feel the sense of being surrounded by people, to be able to interact with the world and I understand that living on an island can give a sense of imprisonment.
I moved from Italy to Scotland because I needed more and different experiences, so I can understand Holly very well. The call of the world is difficult to overcome, mostly when you are interconnected to the world and you receive all the inputs that 21st century technology can feed you.
The scenario that Steven Ingram created in Holly is not different from the real scenario that communities living in these secluded places live daily.
There are the older generation, more conservatives in nature that couldn’t even value the idea of leaving the place they lived for their whole lives.
They grew up on the island in the pre internet age and so they don’t have this urge to follow the tide and most of the time they feel secure in their environment. An environment in which they be themself without giving reason to what the outside world wants.
But as for younger generations it is all different, they grow up with laptops and smartphones and they know that there is a world out there. They know that the world is calling them.
This generational chasm is very well written into the story with many of the older generation who are trying to convince Holly off this madness of leaving the island.
Now. In the last sentence I call her idea, her search for freedom, madness and here I’d like to be allowed to be a devil’s advocate. Even if I firmly believe that you should pursue your happiness and this is the fulcrum of my all idea, there is even the matter of duty. What Holly did here was nothing different by escaping the problems. By not facing the responsibility and the difficulties, it puts her on the bad side and it will make her think that there is always an easy way out.
The best part of this is that I see myself in this. I, myself, many times just abandoned projects and relationships by the snap of a finger so I can give this suggestion for free to all the Hollies out there.
Running away is not a refuge, it will have an impact that will make you filled with regrets.
Unfortunately the story is done and Holly just reached the mainland, presumably going to Edinburgh and beyond so there is nothing more we can say to stop her so I just hope that she will come back to visit her mother and friends and maybe she will be able to continue the relationship she started with the new girl in town.
In a bit more than 140 pages, the reader will go through almost every emotion. At the beginning you will get to know her. From happiness to laughter and, at the end, a lot of tears. These are the kind of human stories that I absolutely love.