BOOK REVIEW: Small Things by Mel Tregonning
Allen & Unwin
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell
Graphic Novel/Picture Book/Issues Based
‘The best art gives a voice to the voiceless parts of our lives, andSmall Things does so with heartfelt precision.‘
– Shaun Tan
Small Things is a universal story, told simply and with breathtaking beauty, about dealing with sadness, anxiety, depression, heartache or loss, and finding your way in the world.
It’s about discovering you aren’t alone in the world and that everyone goes through their own issues, in one way or another, and it’s about stepping up to offer help to others who are struggling, even as we ourselves are going through a hard time, because bad things come and go, and what helps us through these times is the people we surround ourselves with.
This story is made all the more powerful in the knowledge that it follows the illustrator’s own struggles, something her family became aware of after she took her own life in 2014. The book was completed by Shaun Tan, and the story as a whole highlights the importance of talking through things with those you care about, lessening the load, and encouraging them to do the same.
Due to the subject matter, this isn’t a book that is particularly suitable for the youngest of readers, but it carries a message that is important for all of us to hear:
You are not alone; we all go through struggles, but we can help one another find the strength we need.
The message in the book is hopeful overall, and one can’t help but lament the fact that Tregonning herself wasn’t around to see it in its completed form.
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