Aug 22, 2014: With Drawn is a story about Jacob Grist, an adolescent with Asperger’s Syndrome, who discovers his drawings can come to life and he uses his artwork to protect him from his tormentors. As a teacher that works with students with Asperger’s Syndrome, I find this story very interesting. I found the narration jarring at first, but then I realized that the narrator either has Asperger’s and is working the idioms and situations out in his or her own mind, or that the narrator is telling the story as if explaining it to someone that doesn’t understand social cues? After a few paragraphs, I got used to it and then began to really enjoy the way it (often humorously) brought attention to things we take for granted by the narrator’s seeming to notice these aspects for the first time. It reminded me of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions in that way. I’m assuming, from what I’ve read, that the story is just getting started, and already, I really like the protagonist Jacob—even though, due to his diagnosis, he is hard to connect with. The quirkiness of the narration helps in creating a connection to Jacob very nicely, quickly establishing reader empathy to someone hard to empathize with. I also like Jacob’s mother a lot; a woman who only wants what is best for her son. And as much as I like those characters, I equally despise the story’s villains: Jacob’s stepfather and the school bully. But at the same time, the villains are not caricatured or so evil they are unbelievable. The stepfather is just ignorant, and the bully seems to genuinely feel wronged by Jacob and feels his bullying is justified. Still, they are so cruel and unlikable that it should create a nice conflict. I am eager to see where the magic-realism aspect of the drawings coming to life goes, and how exactly Jacob will overcome the bullies. It’s a nice beginning. I am really impressed with this story.
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