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Book review: The Tale of One Bad Rat 
12th-Jul-2009 06:14 pm
LondonEyevatar
It's been a quiet weekend so I decided to have a look in the pile of graphic novels that have been sitting there unread, and picked up Bryan Talbot's 1995 book The Tale of One Bad Rat. A pretty dark but eventually hopeful story about a homeless girl called Helen, who ran away from home after years of abuse by her father. Talbot's twist to the story is to make her a big fan of Beatrix Potter, and tell the story as a sort of anti-Potter tale. So Helen's pet rat becomes a metaphor for how abused children blame themselves: As rats have been demonised so, in her own imagination, has Helen. Ultimately it's a story about how art can help your life, as a quest to follow in the footsteps of Potter gives Helen the strength to confront her demons and make a life for herself. A dark fairytale, but well-written and illustrated by Talbot.
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