May 28, 2011

Burgas reviews Bertozzi's LEWIS & CLARK

Review Time!  With Lewis & Clark

By Greg BurgasI’ve been a fan of Nick Bertozzi for a few years now, and while I haven’t loved everything he’s done, I like his art quite a bit and I love that he writes about interesting topics. I’ve never been a big fan of the Lewis and Clark expeditions (despite living for some time in Oregon, where there’s a college named after them), but I loves me some historical fiction, so I figured I’d give this a look. It’s published by First Second and is listed at $16.99.

Bertozzi tells the story of the expedition in a fairly straightforward fashion, with one major exception, and through that we get a good sense of what life was like in the early nineteenth century both in the middle of civilization and out on the frontier.
Bertozzi apparently handles the Native element well:Bertozzi, however, does a very nice job with the characters in the book reacting to the travails of the route. The relationship between Charbonneau and his wife, Sacagawea, is an unpleasant one, and Bertozzi doesn’t shy away from showing its ugliness. Clark’s slave, York, is presented in an uncomfortable way to modern audiences–he’s depicted much more like a servant than a slave, and even rejects the notion that Clark would free him when the expedition is over. Even Lewis, late in the book, expresses surprise that Clark hasn’t freed him yet. There’s also a lot of humor in the book, with two characters providing some of the comic relief. Bertozzi also does a nice job showing how the various Native American tribes treated the expedition. Some of them, like the Mandan, were very accommodating, while others were very wary. Bertozzi doesn’t get into the Indian culture too much, but he does a nice job showing how different the tribes were from each other. It’s an interesting glimpse into how the Indians sought to live with the whites and use them to their own purposes, which didn’t work out too well, as we know, but this was still early in their interaction with the new Americans.Comment:  For more on the subject, see Burgas Reviews Demon Bear Saga and Lewis and Clark Graphic Novel.


alanajoli said...

Sounds hopeful -- have you gotten a chance to pick this one up yourself, Rob?

Rob said...

No, I haven't.