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Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir

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Flying Couch, Amy Kurzweil’s debut, tells the stories of three unforgettable women. Amy weaves her own coming-of-age as a young Jewish artist into the narrative of her mother, a psychologist, and Bubbe, her grandmother, a World War II survivor who escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto by disguising herself as a gentile. Captivated by Bubbe’s story, Amy turns to her sketchbooks, t Flying Couch, Amy Kurzweil’s debut, tells the stories of three unforgettable women. Amy weaves her own coming-of-age as a young Jewish artist into the narrative of her mother, a psychologist, and Bubbe, her grandmother, a World War II survivor who escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto by disguising herself as a gentile. Captivated by Bubbe’s story, Amy turns to her sketchbooks, teaching herself to draw as a way to cope with what she discovers. Entwining the voices and histories of these three wise, hilarious, and very different women, Amy creates a portrait not only of what it means to be part of a family, but also of how each generation bears the imprint of the past. Flying Couch uses Bubbe’s real testimony and her playful, idiosyncratic sensibility to investigate the legacy of trauma, the power of family stories, and the meaning of home. The result is this bold illustrated memoir, both an original story of self-discovery and an important entry into the literature of the Holocaust. “Flying Couch is perfect. It’s perceptive, emotionally on point, surprising and funny in its details, told in an intuitive way that’s completely direct, and about something that matters. This is an important book.” —Liana Finck, author of The Bintel Brief “Flying Couch is a moving, intricate story of identity and family history.” —Ariel Schrag, author of Likewise and Awkward and Definition “I read Flying Couch in one sitting, without moving, literally laughed and literally cried.” —Rachel Fershleiser, co-editor of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning "Amy Kurzweil's moving debut is a story of trauma and survival, and a search for identity and belonging. Fluctuating, in words and images, from the bubbly to the intense, this graphic memoir exposes the complicated and powerful ways we are shaped by the histories and relationships that anchor us." —Tahneer Oksman, author of How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?


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Flying Couch, Amy Kurzweil’s debut, tells the stories of three unforgettable women. Amy weaves her own coming-of-age as a young Jewish artist into the narrative of her mother, a psychologist, and Bubbe, her grandmother, a World War II survivor who escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto by disguising herself as a gentile. Captivated by Bubbe’s story, Amy turns to her sketchbooks, t Flying Couch, Amy Kurzweil’s debut, tells the stories of three unforgettable women. Amy weaves her own coming-of-age as a young Jewish artist into the narrative of her mother, a psychologist, and Bubbe, her grandmother, a World War II survivor who escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto by disguising herself as a gentile. Captivated by Bubbe’s story, Amy turns to her sketchbooks, teaching herself to draw as a way to cope with what she discovers. Entwining the voices and histories of these three wise, hilarious, and very different women, Amy creates a portrait not only of what it means to be part of a family, but also of how each generation bears the imprint of the past. Flying Couch uses Bubbe’s real testimony and her playful, idiosyncratic sensibility to investigate the legacy of trauma, the power of family stories, and the meaning of home. The result is this bold illustrated memoir, both an original story of self-discovery and an important entry into the literature of the Holocaust. “Flying Couch is perfect. It’s perceptive, emotionally on point, surprising and funny in its details, told in an intuitive way that’s completely direct, and about something that matters. This is an important book.” —Liana Finck, author of The Bintel Brief “Flying Couch is a moving, intricate story of identity and family history.” —Ariel Schrag, author of Likewise and Awkward and Definition “I read Flying Couch in one sitting, without moving, literally laughed and literally cried.” —Rachel Fershleiser, co-editor of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning "Amy Kurzweil's moving debut is a story of trauma and survival, and a search for identity and belonging. Fluctuating, in words and images, from the bubbly to the intense, this graphic memoir exposes the complicated and powerful ways we are shaped by the histories and relationships that anchor us." —Tahneer Oksman, author of How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?

30 review for Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    I’ve developed a soft spot for graphic memoirs. ‘Flying Couch’ is a moving debut... In part, it’s a type of ‘coming-of-age’ story for Amy. It also about the value of family stories - powerful family history - and how the Holocaust affected Amy, her mother, and grandmother — individually, and their relationships together. Amy Kurzweil is the author and Artist. Her mother, Sonya, is a therapist. Bubbe, Amy’s grandmother escaped from the Warsaw ghetto. This is a very Jewish family story. It’s emotio I’ve developed a soft spot for graphic memoirs. ‘Flying Couch’ is a moving debut... In part, it’s a type of ‘coming-of-age’ story for Amy. It also about the value of family stories - powerful family history - and how the Holocaust affected Amy, her mother, and grandmother — individually, and their relationships together. Amy Kurzweil is the author and Artist. Her mother, Sonya, is a therapist. Bubbe, Amy’s grandmother escaped from the Warsaw ghetto. This is a very Jewish family story. It’s emotionally felt. It’s funny - it’s sad - and it’s touching. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed learning about Amy Kurzweil....and I loved the tidbits & little details about her childhood home. It warmed my heart. I have the physical book - the illustrations are a mixed bag- some I liked more than others - but overall they complemented the personality and tone in which this story was told.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    When my children grew up, they didn't know my stories but they were all very sort of sad. Why don't I have an uncle, they say. Why don't I have cousins? Why don't I have grandparents? Why? Why? I said, I'm sorry, if I could buy you an uncle I would buy you an uncle. Kurzweil's graphic novel tells the tale of three generations of women. Most involving is the story of the author's grandmother, her Bubbe, Lily Fenster. Her story is told in her own words, broken English, and all. (The voice of Reizl When my children grew up, they didn't know my stories but they were all very sort of sad. Why don't I have an uncle, they say. Why don't I have cousins? Why don't I have grandparents? Why? Why? I said, I'm sorry, if I could buy you an uncle I would buy you an uncle. Kurzweil's graphic novel tells the tale of three generations of women. Most involving is the story of the author's grandmother, her Bubbe, Lily Fenster. Her story is told in her own words, broken English, and all. (The voice of Reizl Bozyk, who played the Bubbe in the film Crossing Delancey, was echoing in my head.) During the war, Lily's blonde hair and blue eyes allowed her to pass as a shiksa, while the rest of her family was hauled to the camps. When I went back to Europe in - in the seventies it was - I looked for family that survived. Everyone was listed, you know how they did it. I was checking names, looking. I was thinking, maybe...but I didn't see nothing. Bubbe is delightful. She throws down beach towels to protect her carpeting (my granny used throw rugs), and is constantly looking for cans to recycle for cash. She is indeed larger than life. And therein lies the main problem with the book. The other characters - the author and her mother - pale in comparison. I found myself skimming Kurzweil's story of her search to find herself within her religion, and her tense relationship with her mother, just to get to the Bubbe bits. I was also not too crazy about the artwork. Still, this one is worth a read to get to know Lily Fenster. You go, Bubbe!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    The reviews for Flying Couch seem lukewarm, so I was a bit surprised by how much I enjoyed it. This memoir-in-comics is purportedly a tale of three generations of women: Amy Kurzweil, her mother Sonya, and her grandmother Lily. Lily's sections, which involve her escape from the Warsaw ghetto and the years she spent pretending to be Catholic during WWII, are by far the most fascinating, but I also enjoyed Amy's sections about her attempt to establish her own identity, both as an artist and simply The reviews for Flying Couch seem lukewarm, so I was a bit surprised by how much I enjoyed it. This memoir-in-comics is purportedly a tale of three generations of women: Amy Kurzweil, her mother Sonya, and her grandmother Lily. Lily's sections, which involve her escape from the Warsaw ghetto and the years she spent pretending to be Catholic during WWII, are by far the most fascinating, but I also enjoyed Amy's sections about her attempt to establish her own identity, both as an artist and simply as the offspring of two such formidable women. On the other hand, Amy's mother Sonya, a therapist, gets short shrift in Flying Couch; as she herself points out after reading an early draft, she doesn't come across as a full person with her own story. The fact that Amy includes this observation in the book without then going on to give her mother a fuller treatment is quite telling. Sonya's role in the book is as a bridge between grandmother and granddaughter, but, more importantly, as a locus for both Amy's and the aging Lily's struggles to balance independence with their need for other people (including Sonya herself, of course). These struggles provide an interesting and necessary narrative tension and make it clear how valuable a player Sonya actually is in Flying Couch. While I wouldn't call this book a comics masterpiece, it's well worth the read. I look forward to checking out Amy Kurzweil's future work.

  4. 5 out of 5

    ♥ Sandi ❣

    3 stars Not the best graphic novel I have read. It was geared toward 3 generations of women in the same family. However, there were times that I could not make sense of what was being told, not in story form or as an individual page in time. I know this book was an explanation of the authors personal story, both current and her families past, however for me it was very hard to follow and understand. Whereas other sections made sense and were easy to follow. I will say that the graphic artistry wa 3 stars Not the best graphic novel I have read. It was geared toward 3 generations of women in the same family. However, there were times that I could not make sense of what was being told, not in story form or as an individual page in time. I know this book was an explanation of the authors personal story, both current and her families past, however for me it was very hard to follow and understand. Whereas other sections made sense and were easy to follow. I will say that the graphic artistry was done well. Simple but expressive. Pages were not crowded with verbiage and different issues were cordoned off by chapter. Not a graphic novel I would start with if you have never read graphics before.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    How I came to this book, a graphic novel of a three generations of women who descended from a Holocaust survivor in Poland, was interesting. I recently attended a talk of three local psychologists who are children of Holocaust survivors, and they each spoke about what those experiences were/are like, and how to look at potential resiliencies from such abhorrent and unimaginable trauma and loss. This one woman, her mother is 94 and still living. Her daughter Amy is an artist, and took her grandmo How I came to this book, a graphic novel of a three generations of women who descended from a Holocaust survivor in Poland, was interesting. I recently attended a talk of three local psychologists who are children of Holocaust survivors, and they each spoke about what those experiences were/are like, and how to look at potential resiliencies from such abhorrent and unimaginable trauma and loss. This one woman, her mother is 94 and still living. Her daughter Amy is an artist, and took her grandmother’s story of survival and blended their three stories into this work. Normally, I don’t care for graphic novels. They don’t intrigue me. But the idea of a graphic novel of a holocaust story did. And it is a way to have the granddaughter be able to make sense of her life and experiences in an interesting way that absolutely grabs. I loved her impressions of her mother and grandmother, and her experiences. And the strength, hope, and humor that comes out of it. It was entirely believable and familiar. I read it in an hour. And very much enjoyed the medium to my own surprise. The three women that emerge are incredibly strong and beautiful, and it was a really nice antidote to the book for me that came before. I knew I wanted to read this book for Strong Women month, and was really glad to have appreciated something so different and out of the box for me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This autobiographical graphic novel reminded me very much in style and tone of Alison Bechdel’s work, especially Are You My Mother? It delves into Kurzweil’s grandmother Bubbe’s early life and escape from the Warsaw ghetto. Less compelling is the story of how Kurzweil tried to reclaim her Jewish identity during college even though her family was largely non-practicing. She then moved to Brooklyn and attempted to piece together a living through various arts-based jobs, most of them working with k This autobiographical graphic novel reminded me very much in style and tone of Alison Bechdel’s work, especially Are You My Mother? It delves into Kurzweil’s grandmother Bubbe’s early life and escape from the Warsaw ghetto. Less compelling is the story of how Kurzweil tried to reclaim her Jewish identity during college even though her family was largely non-practicing. She then moved to Brooklyn and attempted to piece together a living through various arts-based jobs, most of them working with kids. My favorite panels imagined Freud and Dionysus offering differing advice on her life, and pictured life in Brooklyn as a Chutes and Ladders board. Stand-out lines: “Humor is mortar. It binds the bridge between the real and the unimaginable.” “The women in my family have certain stories to tell. Why does it feel like I’m not the protagonist of my own life?”

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    Too sloppy, unstructured and all over the place for my taste, both in story and art. Just when I'd start to get interested in a section it would abruptly end and the story would go flying off in a whole different direction, never to return, leaving me unsatisfied. I don't feel the stories of the grandmother, mother and daughter were interwoven well enough to gel into a singular work. I'd have preferred separate volumes about the daughter and grandmother with stronger focus on each. (The mother s Too sloppy, unstructured and all over the place for my taste, both in story and art. Just when I'd start to get interested in a section it would abruptly end and the story would go flying off in a whole different direction, never to return, leaving me unsatisfied. I don't feel the stories of the grandmother, mother and daughter were interwoven well enough to gel into a singular work. I'd have preferred separate volumes about the daughter and grandmother with stronger focus on each. (The mother sort of falls through the cracks and didn't leave much of an impression on me.)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Flying Couch, by Amy Kurzweil, Oct. 2016 Kurzweil's graphic memoir is a moving tribute to the two most important women in her life: her mother and her maternal grandmother. Kurzweil’s grandmother was a blond 13 year old in 1939, and she survived the holocaust by posing as a Christian when her family was forced into the concentration camps. “Humor is mortar. It binds the bridge between the real and the unimaginable, between all we’ve lost…and what we can’t get rid of.” Kurzweil use of humor flows Flying Couch, by Amy Kurzweil, Oct. 2016 Kurzweil's graphic memoir is a moving tribute to the two most important women in her life: her mother and her maternal grandmother. Kurzweil’s grandmother was a blond 13 year old in 1939, and she survived the holocaust by posing as a Christian when her family was forced into the concentration camps. “Humor is mortar. It binds the bridge between the real and the unimaginable, between all we’ve lost…and what we can’t get rid of.” Kurzweil use of humor flows throughout “Flying Couch”, but also focuses on what binds family together through shared stories, tradition, and a deep familial love. Flying Couch is highly recommended for all, but especially for those who enjoy graphic memoirs like Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home”. Great YA appeal.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    Amy's grandmother survived as a Jew in Nazi Germany. In this book, Amy tells her grandmother's story, as well as her own about the process of writing it and graduating from college. It appears that an earlier version of this book--or earlier excerpts from it--was a graduation project, because there are scenes of her mother and grandmother reading "Hovering Armchair: A Trialectic of Self, Identity, and Post-Post-Memory in the Twenty-First Century Jew (American) An Illustrated Reflection," and mar Amy's grandmother survived as a Jew in Nazi Germany. In this book, Amy tells her grandmother's story, as well as her own about the process of writing it and graduating from college. It appears that an earlier version of this book--or earlier excerpts from it--was a graduation project, because there are scenes of her mother and grandmother reading "Hovering Armchair: A Trialectic of Self, Identity, and Post-Post-Memory in the Twenty-First Century Jew (American) An Illustrated Reflection," and marvelling at it. The back cover mentions the lives of three women, but it really only delves into the lives of two of them. Her mother's backstory is mentioned as needed, and the relationship among the three women is covered, but it's the life details of Amy and her Grandmother that are the focus. Comparisons to Art Spiegelman's Maus are probably inevitable, because every memoir dealing with Jewish memories of the Holocaust is going to remind people of Maus. Aside from the general subject, though, there's not a lot in common. Unlike Vladek Spiegelman, Amy's grandmother managed to avoid being sent to the camps, just barely managing to survive in hiding until the end of the war. There's a point in her story where she gets married, very soon after the war, and there's a scene of people dancing and singing at the wedding where many of the guests are still emaciated and dressed in their striped uniforms from the camps, but happy for the couple ... even now, just recalling it and typing this description just about makes me weep ... That moment alone is worth the price of the book. The book was a little difficult to get into at first. Kurzweil likes to use hand-drawn maps for backgrounds and then lays her panels on top of them. She also makes quite a bit of use of full pages with no panel borders, just repeated figures flowing together in large compositions. Once I got used to her style, though, I enjoyed the book very much. Her art style reminds me of people like Ariel Schrag and Diane Dimassa, somewhat loose and cartoony, but more under control than it might appear at first glance, and full of boundless enthusiasm. I liked this quite a bit, and will definitely keep an eye out for further Kurzweil projects. Recommended!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    This autobiographical graphic novel, tells the tale of three generations of women, including the author. The stand-out here is the author's grandmother, was able to escape from a concentration camp as a young girl and survives the war on her own daring and wits. Plus, she is such a hoot and a free spirit, as an aged woman, telling her story. This is a wonderful family memoir- funny, sad, insightful and nicely illustrated.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Raina

    The author is the daughter of a famous therapist. This is a meld of her own coming of age memoir with her grandmother's WWII story. The drawing is a little scrawly for my taste, but I liked her experimentation and variety of page layouts. She has a couple of great maps and room layouts. It's pretty thick, but there are plenty of pages with few to no words. Not especially memorable beyond the author's famous mother.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    What a beautiful book! The New York Times recently recommended FLYING COUCH as one of the season's best graphic novels. Kirkus Reviews called it “a debut that enriches and extends the potential of graphic narrative” (it got a Kirkus star, a good indication of a great book). It's all true. But that doesn't tell you just how funny this book is!! Digging deep into her family’s immigrant roots, Kurzweil's young narrator explores a question we all face: what it means to discover identity, and then what What a beautiful book! The New York Times recently recommended FLYING COUCH as one of the season's best graphic novels. Kirkus Reviews called it “a debut that enriches and extends the potential of graphic narrative” (it got a Kirkus star, a good indication of a great book). It's all true. But that doesn't tell you just how funny this book is!! Digging deep into her family’s immigrant roots, Kurzweil's young narrator explores a question we all face: what it means to discover identity, and then what it means to deal with it. The pages crackle with visually ingenuity and insight as the narrator diagnoses the contemporary American condition, how to cope with a traumatic inheritance, and how to be an individual in a big messy community—in this case, her family. Kurzweil plays space like an accordion, and her drawings have the same effect as music on the story: they make the words resonate in a deeper place. You feel the swirl of time-travel, the pull of the ghosts of Art Spiegelman, Will Eisner and Harvey Pekar that chase her as she flees the Identity Fair. I am a non-Jewish 35 year old, and I love this book and highly recommend it! For me, it resonates as a story about a woman's coming-of-age search for identity in the absurdity of family and history. Also--if you're looking for a gift, it's gorgeous. It's big and sexy and the stars actually sparkle on the cover! A great gift for anyone who loves to read!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristina (msbunnyears)

    I really wanted to like this. I'm sad I didn't. I think the premise of having a memoir about a family of jews would be an important topic, but it just wasn't executed well. For example, there were tiny arrows pointing to something or little-written notes during the whole story that wasn't important and was just distractions. The story also didn't have any general direction. The direction was everywhere as if the author was unsure of where she wanted the topic and story to go. I also didn't like th I really wanted to like this. I'm sad I didn't. I think the premise of having a memoir about a family of jews would be an important topic, but it just wasn't executed well. For example, there were tiny arrows pointing to something or little-written notes during the whole story that wasn't important and was just distractions. The story also didn't have any general direction. The direction was everywhere as if the author was unsure of where she wanted the topic and story to go. I also didn't like the art style. I liked the author's decision to make the story in black and white, but the way she drew just wasn't for me. I ended up feeling like I should rush to finish it so I can be done.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karen Barber

    In spite of emailing the publicist, I have only received an excerpt from this memoir so my rating is based on a small part of this book. From what I've seen this is an exciting way of telling the story of the Holocaust from a clear personal experience. The images have a simplistic quality, but they blend well with the text. Sometimes graphic, sometimes touching, but always these images are honest. It looks like I'll have to wait for the complete experience, but it is one to read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    I wasn't a fan of the illustrations from the start and then with the unorganized speech bubbles and narrative I couldn't follow it. I needed a lot of patience and with a story as rich and sentimental as three generations of women, one who survived in World War II as a Jewish girl, and I didn't have it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    I wish I would have liked this better. It was an #LMPBC read otherwise I would have DNFed it. It’s a story of a young lady, her jewish-ness, her mother, her grandmother, and the Holocaust. At its heart I feel this book wants to be Maus. It even references Maus, but it is such a lackluster comparison. Much of the story is Amy trying to decide what customs and activities of jewish life are relevant to her, while living with childhood anxiety, an overbearing mother, and the weight of her flighty gr I wish I would have liked this better. It was an #LMPBC read otherwise I would have DNFed it. It’s a story of a young lady, her jewish-ness, her mother, her grandmother, and the Holocaust. At its heart I feel this book wants to be Maus. It even references Maus, but it is such a lackluster comparison. Much of the story is Amy trying to decide what customs and activities of jewish life are relevant to her, while living with childhood anxiety, an overbearing mother, and the weight of her flighty grandmothers stories. Amy has this want and drive to collect and tell her grandmother’s stories, I just wish she would have taken herself out of the equation. Amy switches time periods and locations with no notice and it is hard to tell. There is not break. You can tell her grandmother’s story of surviving the war apart from everything else from not only how it was worded but also how it was typeset. But everything else mashes together like peas carrots and mashed potatoes. But the potatoes are burnt and it ruins the entire thing. I really wish the author had taken a chronological approach. Her story of finding her Jewishness was interesting. Her story with her overbearing and analytical mother was interesting. Grandmother’s stories were interesting. But they should have been separated, and a better timeline flow should have been seen to. While many love this book, I do not. And that is okay. Others see things I don’t and vice versa. For someone this will hold the thrill and passion that I found in Maus. And for them I am happy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    "I wonder about roots. I wonder if shorter roots are thicker roots. Thicker roots have more knots and gnarls," writes Amy Kurzweil, the voice of three generations of Jewish women: herself, her mother, and her bubbe in Flying Couch. Part graphic novel, part memoir, Kurzweil plunks us into her history, illuminating the looming female figures of her child and young adult hoods with equal clarity and restraint. Hers is a sparse narrative, turning it over to dialogue and bold frames of art as propell "I wonder about roots. I wonder if shorter roots are thicker roots. Thicker roots have more knots and gnarls," writes Amy Kurzweil, the voice of three generations of Jewish women: herself, her mother, and her bubbe in Flying Couch. Part graphic novel, part memoir, Kurzweil plunks us into her history, illuminating the looming female figures of her child and young adult hoods with equal clarity and restraint. Hers is a sparse narrative, turning it over to dialogue and bold frames of art as propellant for Jewish survival, identity, and wandering during two different times of oppression. Kurzweil's story is nothing if not uniquely Jewish, as the nationality carries with it a sense of tradition, and isolation, that most others cannot claim. It is the longevity. It is the guilt, perhaps. The sense that you are not remembering, not honoring, enough. Never enough. Never again. Amy is an anxious wreck as a girl, too aware already. Too sensitive of something she feels in the ghosts of Bubbe's memories, in the idiosyncrasies of her psychologist mother. But not unlike Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway shows, Kurzweil confronts ancestry as universal and personal simultaneously. It is a duty to tell the stories of those who cleared our paths. Yet it's not as easy as Ancestry.com makes it look. Some trees are harder to fill in, the leaves lost in camps or ghettos or attics. Bubbe's stories, her words of displacement from not only a home and family during the Holocaust but an identity as well, were most enthralling to me. I think of it as a duty, too, to look, to tell, because others can never do it for themselves. However, there has to be a balance. Kurzweil goes on to speak of roots again, saying they "will always be fastened to the ground," despite us future generations growing out, all jagged and encumbered by only an anxiety we can't place. Digesting everything leads to a split from the living. I've felt it myself, and the balm has always been to seek but stay close; to listen, but not to swallow it into yourself. To follow those roots, to carry them, but lightly.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Yari

    I love memoirs and this is my first graphic one. It's a story of three women, three generations starting with Bubba, the grandmother who "survived from Hitler". I loved this line.. "Now my children, they understand. They ask me, how was your heart and you never cried? They say, you never told us. Now they don't ask so much because they know. But I love to talk. So much time I spent alone, in a prison with myself, holding on to a secret like a bomb, then keeping inside more memories and pain like I love memoirs and this is my first graphic one. It's a story of three women, three generations starting with Bubba, the grandmother who "survived from Hitler". I loved this line.. "Now my children, they understand. They ask me, how was your heart and you never cried? They say, you never told us. Now they don't ask so much because they know. But I love to talk. So much time I spent alone, in a prison with myself, holding on to a secret like a bomb, then keeping inside more memories and pain like sinking stones in the stomach. No more. I want all my children to hear my stories, for everybody to hear it." Beautiful, and heart wrenching. Even so, I thought the memoir was a little disjointed but that could be my own lack of exposure to a graphic novel speaking. I also prefer the written word. Still worth the read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Gordon

    Ehhh... there's some powerful stories embedded in this memoir by Kurzweil, but the narrative is a confusing mess. I would have preferred seeing stronger ties between the different generations of women given that was meant to be the heart of this book. Less scattered art would have also helped, and a more structured story. Bubba's story is obviously strongest, but I was rather sad that the mother was almost entirely neglected.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura Hoffman Brauman

    Flying Couch focuses on the stories of 3 women in one family -- the author and her coming of age, her mother -- a psychologist that focuses on women and children, and her grandmother -- a survivor of WWII who escaped the Warsaw ghetto and pretended to be a gentile to avoid detainment and the camps. Each of the stories is interesting in it's own right, particularly the grandmother and Kurzweil looks at issues of identity and how the experiences of each generation influenced the next. At times, th Flying Couch focuses on the stories of 3 women in one family -- the author and her coming of age, her mother -- a psychologist that focuses on women and children, and her grandmother -- a survivor of WWII who escaped the Warsaw ghetto and pretended to be a gentile to avoid detainment and the camps. Each of the stories is interesting in it's own right, particularly the grandmother and Kurzweil looks at issues of identity and how the experiences of each generation influenced the next. At times, the art in here didn't seem to enhance the text as much as I like in a graphic memoir/novel.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Medeia Sharif

    I didn't connect to the story until about a quarter way into it. Once I settled into its rhythm, I enjoyed the author's perspectives, the roles of her mother and grandmother in her life, and where she was headed in the future. I also appreciated the graphic memoir format.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    This story was so wonderful. Granted, I am incredibly biased. I am addicted to graphic memoirs and will enjoy them no matter what because of how much I enjoy that style of storytelling. This one was especially good. I loved the little details. All of the maps and routes and floorplans (especially of Amy's childhood home) were charming. I will need to add the books from her many bookshelves to my TBR!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    This was kinda scattered in that it was all over the place. Honestly not for me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    This had some great content, but I didn’t love some of the stylistic choices (page organization, lettering, etc).

  25. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    A holocaust memoir, the artist tells her grandmother's story mixed with her own and some of her mom's. An interesting telling and the grandmother is quite a character in modern day.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sandy Plants

    3.5* I didn’t love it; I didn’t hate it. It’s nice to see people break the mold when it comes to creating memoirs. Also, I like her illustration style: far from perfect; childlike. It worked!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Stern

    Not sure I like graphic novels. Liked the story.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    I normally like graphic novel memoirs, but I didn't like her art style or her panel layout choices; personal taste, but I felt both distracted from the story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    A beautifully illustrated memoir depicting the author's family history through the Holocaust from her grandmother's voice and eyes as well as the lessons learned from her mother.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Hanover

    I love everything about this incredibly detailed and thoughtful book. This beautifully rendered debut graphic memoir by Amy Kurzweil gives the reader a private glimpse into all the facets of the author's life, one hand-drawn page at a time. Each panel reveals more and more about her psyche, her family's history, and the "stuff" that makes her, well, her. She asks questions about her Jewish identity, tells and explores her Bubbe's story of fleeing the Holocaust as a way to understand herself, bri I love everything about this incredibly detailed and thoughtful book. This beautifully rendered debut graphic memoir by Amy Kurzweil gives the reader a private glimpse into all the facets of the author's life, one hand-drawn page at a time. Each panel reveals more and more about her psyche, her family's history, and the "stuff" that makes her, well, her. She asks questions about her Jewish identity, tells and explores her Bubbe's story of fleeing the Holocaust as a way to understand herself, brings humor and wit to difficult topics (like trying to figure out "what kind of Jew" she is, a trip to "the homeland", and getting her first period at her bat mitzvah). Amy's work is so accessible (partly because of her expertly drawn illustrations, and partly because of her uniquely idiosyncratic sense of humor and comic timing), anyone who's ever grown up, dealt with a complicated family or tried to find his/her place in the world can relate to this book and walk away feeling like they've found a friend in the universe who understands how hard it is to be human. It's a wonderful addition to Holocaust literature and the graphic novel canon. I'm a fan.

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