By Dustin Cabeal
I love the title for this book. Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, But You Could’ve Done Better instantly grabs you. Now, not knowing anything about the book beforehand I had my own ideas of what it would be about and let’s just say that it was nothing like my mind wanted it to be. I was, however, able to quickly move on from what I made up and latch on to what it is actually about.
Breaking Up Is Hard is a series of collected stories about breakups. Pretty evident as it is in the title. These are real stories that people have shared with Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell. Campbell has then made an illustration to accompany each story.
Here’s the thing… You don’t need any of the illustrations. I feel bad saying that, but it’s true. After about twenty stories I stopped looking at the art for a while. Later after realizing that the art was what I was supposed to be reviewing I went back and looked at it all again.
The art does capture the entire story in one image. I will say that Campbell does an incredible job of doing that as this ranges from easy to capture to quite difficult and abstract. The problem I had with it, is that all of the art is displayed after the fact because you need the context of the story to understand what you’re looking at. By then, you’ve already read the story though which is the most interesting part so seeing art after the fact is just that, after the fact.
Campbell’s style is also very simple and clean. There’s never a lot of detail, and it’s all pretty unattractive artwork. Listen, I look at comic books for a living, and so I see a lot of art, and I enjoy a range of styles and abilities, but Breaking Up is not a style I enjoyed once while reading it and re-reading it. Aside from the quality of the art itself, there was the coloring. The style picked was whole colors and what I can only imagine is some kind of computer paint program. If it were painted by hand, then it would drive me crazy that so much time was spent on it. The color never touches the edge of the art giving it a strange look. Thicker line work could have improved this, but it looked like an intentional choice and one that was ultimately distracting to look at over and over. That and a lot of the color schemes were just poorly picked and unpleasant to the eye.
The stories are interesting because it’s a bit like reading submitted tales in Reader’s Digest. You’re getting a voyeuristic look into someone’s life, and we’re all suckers for that. That’s what kept me reading, and that’s likely why everyone picking this up will continue reading. Sadly, the art doesn’t add anything to this book and ends up feeling more like filler than substance.
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, But You Could’ve Done Better
Creator: Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell
Publisher: Animal Media Group