I picked up Daytripper on a whim. I was looking for a new graphic novel to read and was just browsing through the small, yet substantial, graphic novel section of my local library. I noticed the cover of Daytripper and was slightly intrigued. I thumbed through it and the illustrations alone sucked me in. When I got home and started reading, I had no idea what I was getting myself into…and little did I know I was about to embark on a book that would overwhelm me in every way possible.
After I read Daytripper, I just sat in my living room and cried. I cried my bloody eyes out. I went back and thumbed through it again, then cried some more. It wasn’t that it was sad…it was just so beautiful, so profound. On the surface level, it is a story about death…but if you really dig in deep, it’s so much more than that. It’s a story about choices, about deciding to stay or go. It’s a story about moments, about those events that change and shape your life, and those quiet intimate seconds you share with a loved one. It’s a story about beginnings and endings and all the moments in between that help shape and mold us into who we are.
The birth of Bras de Oliva Domingos was a miracle in and of itself. The son of a famous Brazilian writer, Bras was born in the middle of a blackout and somehow survived. Now, as a young adult, Bras is an inspiring writer himself, spending his days writing obituaries for the local paper…trying to find the moments, tell the stories, that made these people who they were while his story has barley just begun.
Throughout Daytripper, Bras tries to figure out his own stories…tries to piece together the moments that have helped shape his life. Each chapter introduces us to someone important in Bras’s life, then ends with Bras’s death. Each death comes about differently as a result of a choice Bras made. Each chapter begs the question, “What is life and how, in death, is life valued?”.
This amazing story is accompanied with stunning watercolor illustrations, made to give you the feeling of moving through a dream. A somewhat quiet comic with little dialogue, Daytripper relies on subtle glances, soft hugs, quiet moments to help tell the story. It’s a lyrical, emotional and visual journey that uses those intimate moments to ask the big questions.
The message of Daytripper lies in the answer to a question we’ve all asked ourselves at one point: What are the most important days of your life? Is it the moment you’re born? Is it when you meet your first love? When you have your first kiss? When you see your child in your arms? When you finally find your dream job? Or maybe the most important days are the days where nothing happens…when you see a bird in a tree or feel fresh rain on your face. Maybe the important days are the ones you spend sitting on the couch with your loved one or just playing in the park with your dog.
Like all the best stories, Daytripper is a story about stories…about beginnings and endings. It’s about choices, big and small, that shape us, mold us, create us.
Perhaps the best way to sum up Daytripper is with this interaction between young Bras and his father, taken from the book itself:
Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.