I generally don’t read comics, except for the Sunday newspaper ones, of course. This book, Sunny Side Down: A Collection of Tales of Mere Existence by Lev Yilmaz, I actually grabbed intending to place on a display, but when I flipped through it I was caught by the simple drawings, and the excellent topics of discussion, such as “The Seven Habits of Highly Negative People” and “What I Learned in Grade School.”
Yilmaz’s book is semi-autobiographical and his main character is himself. The book is not a cohesive story, more rambling and random topics than anything else, but really funny. The first part is better organized, covering conception through college graduation. After that, adulthood becomes more disjointed, but not in a bad way.
Lev describes some of the ubiquitous topics of childhood, such as interacting with girls, bullies, and how to carry your books so you don’t look like a sissy. He also explores a lot of real adult problems, like relationships, job-hunting, and dealing with phone calls from his mom. Lev does all of this in unique ways, with simple, yet telling art.
My favorite portions of the book were sections of random assessment, such as the aforementioned lists, and one titled “29 Reasons Not to Expend Any Effort Today.”(Number five is “If I slack off and get away with it, I’ll feel like kind of a bad-ass.”) There are also quite a few fantasy sections, where Lev goes off into detailed reveries of fame, family, or idealistic ideas.
Lev says what a lot of us think. He is sarcastic, ironic, negative, and highly entertaining. His view on the world is witty and true, and I really enjoyed seeing what was coming next. It is a quick read, funny, and keeps your attention. I recommend it for readers who enjoy snarky memoirs, but want something quick and different. Don't dismiss it for it's comic form.