Honestly, I don’t know what to think of Striped Pajamas by Firat Yasa. In fact, that’s basically what my reaction to the whole story was: what did I just read? After a little thought about it, some extra scanning of the story, and reading through a few reviews I must admit that I still feel somewhat baffled as to how I could possibly answer that question. And I guess it all just comes down to the fact that I couldn’t quite figure out what the purpose or the plot was? It seemed like an incoherent dream that a person tried to pen to paper; ultimately, as the story appears to be detailing a dream-world, I found this rather ironic. Though it’s perhaps not quite as clever as it could have been, since I’m not entirely sure that was the author’s intention.
I’ll be frank here; I didn’t like Striped Pajamas. The art style was definitely not for me, having a rather creepy or gross vibe throughout. The main character was unappealing in many ways and therefore it was somewhat difficult to root for him. Personality wise, he was okay, but I couldn’t quite understand what his connection was to anything and the confusion only made the story worse. Especially as there was so much going on and everything was just jumbled together.
From kidnapping plots, to using someone’s brain to power a machine–this is the only intriguing aspect that I liked, as it references the dream-world–nothing really seemed to add up. In one respect, this could be a result of the disjointed way that many of us experience our dreams in general. And that alone makes for a clever commentary. I do not believe this portrayal was executed very well, though perhaps that is the point after all? I was baffled by the inclusion of moles and the overall disturbing nature of the events as a whole.
In the end, while I can respect and appreciate aspects of this graphic novel as it relates to the ideas behind it, I couldn’t quite get past feeling grossed out by the artwork and the world. There was a strangeness to the moles searching for the main character that just didn’t quite mesh well with everything else that was going on and not a single character within the story appealed to me or made me feel anything other than disgust. Even the love interest bothered me.
I don’t inherently hate the story since I do genuinely think it had potential, but I can’t see myself wanting to read this particular one again.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.