Take It As a Compliment – Maria Stoian


Genre: Graphic novel, Nonfiction

Publication Date: 21st November 2015

Format: eARC from Jessica Kingsley Publishers via Netgalley

“I was fifteen.”

“I never saw him again.”

“They chanted after me, ‘Oscar the Grouch, Oscar the Grouch.”

Bringing together the voices of males and females of all ages, the stories in this collective graphic memoir reflect real life experiences of sexual abuse, violence and harassment.

Each experience is brought to life by Maria Stoian’s exceptional artwork. Her unique and varied styles powerfully reflect the tone and mood of the different stories and in just a few pages express the complex emotions felt by victims of sexual abuse.

Covering acts such as sexual violence, public sexual harassment, domestic abuse and child abuse, this is a reminder for survivors that they are not alone and a call for all of us to take action. The stories clearly show that assault of any type is not an honour bestowed on anyone. It is not a compliment.

(From goodreads.com)  

Normally I try to write a certain number of words for my reviews, but I don’t think I’ll make my usual target for the simple reason that this book left me speechless and speaks volumes for itself.

Maria Stoian’s art clearly marks each new story and portrays horrific events so well that this book was just fantastic. The illustrations are wonderful; the careful choice of style and colour to match each individual account made this book unique, as I find that it is rare to find a graphic novel where the styles differ throughout. Her images perfectly encapsulate what is going on in the stories that are being told – true accounts – and capture emotion, making me feel a whole array of different feelings whilst I was reading it.

This is such an important book though, and I urge everyone to pick it up. The stories that it shares cover a massively important issue in today’s society and highlight the fact that we need to listen instead of judge, and do something to help. That these stories are true makes it so much more emotional to read as the reminder that it is the truth constantly nags at you and it really hits home.

There is no plot to comment on, just heartbreaking true stories that made me hate the world around me but also brought me a little closer to comprehending what many people go through. This graphic novel left me speechless, and though it’s not long, it packs a powerful punch and can make you feel all kinds of emotions. It’s one of those books that I think everyone should read, as its message is so important and is vividly portrayed throughout this graphic novel. It’s so difficult to put my feelings about this book into words other than ‘everyone should read it’, and I can’t explain why, except for the fact that this has the potential to help so many people.

Rating: 5 / 5.


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