May 20, 2015

Review: A Glance Backward by Tony Sandoval and Pierre Paquet

Review of the graphic novel A Glance Backward

Title: A Glance Backward

Author: Pierre Paquet

Illustrator: Tony Sandoval 

Publisher: Magnetic Press

Date of Publication: May 12th, 2015

Number of Pages: 90

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review


Eleven-year-old Joey's world turns inside-out when he finds himself pulled inside the walls of his own home, seemingly trapped in a strange and surreal place. As he searches for a way out, he discovers a myriad of strange, intriguing, and frightening characters, who ultimately lead him to complete the greatest journey of them all: growing up.

A fantastical trip through a strange landscape that explores the changing perspective of a young boy facing adulthood. As surreal as Alice in Wonderland, with a powerful truth underneath it all. This beautifully illustrated, watercoloured tale will make readers long for the simplicity of youth while embracing the wonderful complexities of adulthood: RESPONSIBILITY, LOVE, CONSEQUENCE, and ultimately the shocking, inevitable realities of LIFE and DEATH. Written by Pierre Paquet, this honest portrayal of a moment from his own life will take readers to a land of contemplation and adventure. 


A Glance Backward is a bizarre mixture of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and some twisted nightmare. Looking at the summary I never expected it to be this dark and violent, as it turned out to be. It's really short, so it's easy to read it in one sitting, but it's disturbing enough to think about it for quite some time after you've finished it.

Joseph, or Joel as is his nickname, is an 11-year-old child with a great imagination. One day he gets sucked into a world, inside the walls of his home, from where he cannot escape. He tries to smash the bricks in order to get out of there, but each broken brick lead him to a totally different and surreal world. This journey makes Joel realise what it is to be an adult. Until the end of his adventures the young boy, who he is in the very first page, has taken his first steps towards adulthood.

The story is intriguing. I've always liked adventures like that, where the young protagonist learns what is life, sometimes the hard way. When at first Joel was taken into this mysterious world, everything seemed really weird, without any indication as to what purpose they served, or even if there was a way out. I was drawn to this bizarreness and I was curious to see how many different realities there were and where Joel would end up. In most of the worlds, he met various people, from which nobody seemed willing to help him find a way back into his home. Towards the end though I felt that the story had turned into a lot of violence, which was unnecessary. I also didn't really understand how Joel managed to return into his place. I felt that the end of the journey was a little rushed. The ending tried to make up for it and give an explanation for why his imagination had imprisoned him in that weird world, but it was also rushed. The story would have worked better if it was a little longer.

Joel was a likeable child. I liked the fact that he tried to overcome every new obstacle that came his way and he was really fixed on his goal, to return to his home. It's only natural that he had times when his fear and despair overcame him, but there was always something that made him even more determined than before. I can't really talk about the other characters that appear on the graphic novel. We never really get to know them, since Joel only meets them for a while and then he goes to the next world. What I can say is that each one of them depicts a different aspect of an adult's life, the responsibility, the love, the consequence, the way to survive.

The illustration of A Glance Backward is amazing! I love watercolour and it really gives something out of the ordinary to the graphic novel. The colours are mostly dark and cool, which adds to the surreal effect of the story.

A Glance Backward is a graphic novel that is weird and dark. It didn't take long to read it, but it disturbed me, especially the images towards the end. I can understand why many who will read it, won't enjoy much, that's why I recommend it with caution.

So my advice is...

Get lost between reality and fantasy!     


  1. Sounds like a sweet book, great review :-)

    1. This is certainly different compared to the other graphic novels I've read lately.


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