Monday, March 19, 2012

Review - Peepholes

Everyone has secrets. Sometimes those secrets are revealed to those close to us, while other times they remain ironclad. It's usually the ironclad secrets that surprise us most and are the truest indicator of a person. Peepholes by Laurie J. Proud (published by Blank Slate Books) is all about ripping those secrets from their hiding places.

Peepholes is a collection of ten short stories, a bizarre look at what really happens beyond closed doors. It's a fairly innovative means of presenting emotions shared by just about everyone. Emotions like depression, hope, fear...all emotions that we go through on any given day for any given reason.

This isn't your typical comic. It's definitely something more mature and pessimistic at times, giving you pause as you read. Women are depicted as both sex objects and in control. Men are depicted as both submissive and slaves to their desires. Some people have pumpkins for heads. Peepholes is a comic that takes imagination and flips it upside down.

It's not easy enough to say that you're uncomfortable while reading Peepholes, but it's pretty close. This isn't a book that makes you feel better about life. It's coarse at some points, perhaps mirroring the lower levels of humanity at times. What's fascinating is that Proud conveys such emotion with little words.

Proud's dialogue is fairly skeletal, instead relying on the illustrations to carry the message. That's not to say there isn't some semblance of a story here; rather, the reader will glean more symbolism from viewing the almost haunting illustrations as opposed to strictly relying on the dialogue. It's not easy enough to say the stories are all linked together by a character or setting. Instead, they're linked together by a desire to make the esoteric more accessible.

That esoteric includes some of the strange habits and fetishes we have behind closed doors. Intimicies with baked goods, killing your celebrity crush and eradicating people that are different than us are some of the concepts touched upon in Peepholes. It's a book that delves into the darker side of being human, providing a glimpse into our psyches via closed doors.

This darkness is further exemplified by the illustrations. There's an ethereal,almost surreal, quality to them. The reader is sort of kept at an arm's length from the true meaning of the collection thanks to the somewhat embellished illustrations. They're definitely unique and have this chilling effect on you as your read. It's almost as if there's a coarseness in them that stays with you.

Most are loathe to admit it, but there's something of an innate voyeur desire in everyone. Call it lust, call it curiosity, call it whatever, it's there. A certain allure about peering into a world uninvited and learning more in those brief moments than you could ever hope to learn in speaking with someone directly. Peepholes is a work where nothing is sacred and just about everyone is vile behind closed doors.

Peepholes ships in April from Blank Slate Books.

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