Genre: Young Adult Autobiographical Graphic Novel
Pages: Print 320
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Author: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a printed copy borrowed from a library I work at. This review is no way tied to the library or the publisher.
Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Raised by his colorful grandparents, who adopted him because his mother was an incarcerated heroin addict, Krosoczka didn’t know his father’s name until he saw his birth certificate when registering for a school ski trip. Hey, Kiddo traces Krosoczka’s search for his father, his difficult interactions with his mother, his day-to-day life with his grandparents, and his path to becoming an artist. Click here for this synopsis on Goodreads.
“Stories keep memories alive and people real to us.”
I heard about this book while watching a booktuber discuss books that you must read. I also heard about this book on Instagram and felt like I had to pick it up. I was a bit nervous to actually read this graphic novel memoir after reading the description. I haven’t read many books that discuss the challenges faced by children who have parents who are drug addicts. I personally picked up this book because I felt it was important to see how someone else dealt with an issue I dealt with my entire life.
Jarrett Krosoczka uses humor, emotions, and graphics to describe his childhood in this gut-wrenching graphic novel memoir. The author used his love for art as a medium of escape from the harshness of his reality. He discusses the real challenges faced by someone with a parent that is faced with a debilitating addition. In the face of the biggest challenge of his life, Jarrett has an amazing support system to fall back on. In this novel you watch him grow up, be a normal young man, and face the ghosts from his past in order to truly move forward in his life. I cried while reading about his relationship with his mom and the wonderful companionship he received from his grandfather. The pure innocence of a child is displayed exceptionally in this graphic novel through Jarrett’s hope of his mom overcoming her addiction. It is hard to rate someones personal story which is why I gave it five stars. It takes a lot of courage to tell the entire world your story and the things you overcame as a child. This graphic novel memoir aims to shed light on the what it is like to live with two absent parents. Jarrett overcame a lot as a child to become what he wanted today and I definitely think that would not be possible without his grandparents. Out of the entire graphic novel, I enjoyed the acknowledgements at the end. I enjoyed reading about his life after he graduated high school, learning about what happened to his grandparents, learning about his parental relationships and how they developed and reading his appreciation of his family. I recommend this book to any guardian or parent who has a child that has a parent with an addiction.
How this story relates to me
This graphic novel touches on some of the challenges of having a parent that is an addict but not all. All situations are unique. My dad was a drug addict and later died from the effects in 2007. I watched my dad live a life that we all knew would lead to his death. As a child , you hope that your parents will overcome their addiction, you hope they will choose you over an addiction, and you hope for normalcy. However, that isn’t the case in most situations. I had to face my own demons and overcome my own nightmares in order for me to move forward. It is okay to hope for your parents to get better but at the end of the day their choices are their choices alone. I had to understand that addiction is like a disease and my dad could not and was not ready to receive the right treatment. I completely understand as an adult that I did all that I could as a child and his addiction had nothing to do with me. If it weren’t for my maternal grandmother, I would not be here today. The past events shape who you are today but they do not define you. I definitely think I used books as a way to escape the harshness of the reality I lived in and that’s okay.
To purchase your copy of this novel, visit the Scholastic website at https://www.scholastic.com/kids/book/hey-kiddo-by-jarrett-j-krosoczka/ for access to purchasing links
Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!
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