Thursday, 5 February 2015

Bigfoot by Pascal Girard Review

Jimmy’s rotten friend Simon uploads a video he secretly took of Jimmy dancing and it quickly goes viral - suddenly everyone knows who “Disco Jimmy” is and it’s ruining poor Jim’s life! Then his uncle shoots some footage of what he insists is Bigfoot and the media swoops in to focus on the family - as if the teasing at high school wasn’t bad enough, poor Jimmy’s gotten yet more unwanted attention! 

Bigfoot is Pascal Girard’s second book back when he was still focused on fiction, so it’s understandable that its not nearly as accomplished as his later works, Reunion and Petty Theft, both memoirs. It’s also unfortunately a much less engrossing read.

On the one hand Girard does fine in portraying small town life where everyone knows everyone’s business, as well as the frustrations and awkwardness of being a high school kid. There’s also a slight variation on the coming of age story because of Youtube - this generation has to deal with the fact that everyone in the world could watch their mistakes on the internet rather than kids pre-Youtube, so the embarrassment factor is magnified hugely. 

I also thought Jimmy and Simon’s relationship was convincing - Simon’s the happy-go-lucky jerk who treats Jimmy poorly until Jimmy stands up for himself and cuts his “friend” loose. I think a lot of young friendships are like this so many people are able to relate - I know I could!

On the other hand - and I know this is a very shallow critique - none of that interested me at all. Though I guess it’s not that shallow as it’s the author’s job to make the reader care about his characters/story and I wasn’t into either. 

I really wasn’t sure what Girard was going for with the Bigfoot angle. There’s some parallels between Jimmy and Bigfoot as both are unwittingly filmed and their footage posted everywhere. Maybe the comment is that short clips of footage reduces a person down rather than show you who they really are? Though that implies Bigfoot is real so… Or maybe “Bigfoot” was a symbol for change - after Jimmy’s uncle and then Jimmy see him, it signals a turning point for them and their lives take a different, most positive direction afterwards. 

I like Pascal Girard’s comics but Bigfoot was my least favourite so far. Unlike Bigfoot’s footprint, it doesn’t leave much of an impression, not least because it’s really short at 48 pages, but because whatever it was trying to say was too vague. Girard found his niche with nonfiction memoirs which is just as well as his attempt at fiction in this book floundered.


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