I'm not a huge graphic novel aficionado, but every now and again, one comes along that grabs my attention.
Maybe it had something to do with the Jane Eyre reference or maybe it was the rave review from the rep that had stuck in my mind, but when I saw this book displayed on our shelves, I knew I just had to read it.
Helené is a recently rejected girl at school. Once popular with friends, she suddenly finds herself on the outer. She is taunted, teased and bullied.
Her loneliness, confusion & sadness are beautifully depicted in the grey wash illustrations by Arsenault. This is a graphic novel that is still also a picture book at heart.
The thing that keeps Helené going, that offers her respite from the taunts, that fills the void of friends, is books.
And one book in particular speaks to her - Jane Eyre.
All of a sudden we turn the page to find a little bit of Jane Eyre's story as seen through Helené's eyes.
The illustrations change - we see colour, lovely old-fashioned fonts & we also see hope.
Helené sees Jane as a kindred spirit - a connection is made through the pages of the book. Through Jane, Helené feels understood. Jane's story not only gives Helené respite, but hope.
During a ghastly school camping excursion, Helené spies a fox in the woods.
She reaches out & makes a connection with the fox.
This encourages her to make a connection with one of the other girls, Géraldine, also on the outer with the popular group.
There is nothing particularly new or earth-shattering about this classic tale of bullying & loneliness.
Or the redemptive power of a good book.
But Jane, The Fox and Me is told so tenderly that I defy anyone to resist its charms.
I certainly couldn't!
Fanny Britt is from Quebec.
The book was translated into English by Christine Morelli & Susan Ouriou.
This book has mature themes but would be suitable for good 10+ readers as well as high school students.