What a remarkable comic book! Once I picked it up, I couldn't set it down. Until I finished it.
Mirka is a young girl in Hereville, a town of Orthodox Jews. While the rest around her study and learn the skills they'll need in their adult lives, she dreams of fighting dragons. A chance discovery on the edge of town leads her to a strange house and a woman who keeps a pig and may be a witch! Mirka learns along the way that no knowledge is wasteful and sometimes a battle can be won without swords.
I love how seamlessly information is given to the reader. Not everyone has knowledge of Mirka's world but everything is given so matter-of-factly that you learn almost without knowing it. I enjoyed the words and phrases sprinkled in with translations subtly offered at the bottom. There were just enough to enjoy, not too many to make you feel overwhelmed. The culture, the language; everything was interesting.
And yet Mirka was so relatable. Sneaking off to read books, dreaming of dragon slaying, and impatience with knitting (terribly relatable when I was her age), I got Mirka and loved her flaws and all. The scene with her and Fruma (her stepmother) talking about her mother who had passed was a tender and heartfelt moment that has stayed with me more then most of the rest of the book.
This graphic novel seemed to have a bit of everything and I really enjoyed it. The art style unique yet easy to accept and like. The setting even sent me on a couple interest information sprees! The one that was most interesting was the use of the word Hashem. This was clearly the name they were using for God but I'd not heard it before. So off to Wikipedia where I learned that Hashem = The Name. This is used in Judaism when the name of God should be recorded as His name is considered too holy to record. What was really interesting was that Hashem is also used when a reading or service is being recorded on audio. After all, it is being recorded there too, so it's not just in writing.
Thumbs up to you, Mirka!