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Reviews for "the road to god knows..."

Well, I have to say I'm thrilled with the early reviews that the road to god knows... is getting. Below is a sample:

From Library Journal:

"Teenage Marie is a bit overweight and has missed too much school. Her real problem is her schizophrenic mother, especially since her dad—while he loves his daughter—just isn't around much. So it's Marie who has to cope with her mother's personality changes and hospitalizations while managing her own life. Fortunately, Marie has best girlfriend Kelly, who abets Marie's obsession: TV wrestling. And when the two girls escape "reality" to watch a live match, earning ticket money through odd jobs, we know that Marie sees hope for herself. Relatively few graphic novels deal with mental illness (see Graphic Novels, LJ 7/09), and Allan offers an empathetic glimpse at a realistic teen who doesn't rattle cages to seek help even though we might wish she would. Instead, she just keeps going and draws on the resources she has." (

From Booklist Online:

"Marie is the fat girl neither peers nor teachers care enough about to really know. She has a golden best friend, one whose little sister looks up to her, and for escapist heroics she follows pro wrestling, which provides relief from the reality of having a schizophrenic mother. Allan sensitively makes Marie the focus of her own story, never preaching to readers or relaying more knowledge than Marie gleans on her own. Initially, his artwork appears awkward. The characters have disproportioned bodies and adopt strange postures. Soon it becomes clear that this awkwardness reflects a major aspect of Marie’s point of view. Facial expressions are distinctly rendered, though, and oppressive particulars of Marie’s life—the hole in the wall made by the pan her mother threw at her, her overweight and estranged father’s habit of sitting around in his Jockeys—drawn with stark simplicity. Allan is realistic about schizophrenia, too, including the dopey condition of a just-medicated patient. Good for those interested in mental-health issues as they relate to families, and also in girl spirit." (

From Midwest Book Review:

"The teenage years are hard, and having a schizophrenic mother does not help that. "The Road to God Knows..." is the coming of age story of one Marie, a teenage girl faced with her single mother's increasingly complex schizophrenia. Forced to grow up before her time, she learns many important lessons. "The Road to God Knows..." is an intriguing and touching graphic novel with a unique art style, highly recommended." (

From Small Press Reviews:

"With the road to god knows… Von Allan demonstrates that he’s talented as both an artist and a storyteller. The Ottawa he conjures is beautifully and lovingly detailed — on par, perhaps, with the London of Dickens or the Cleveland of Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor. Stylistically, I’m also reminded of Black Hole by Charles Burns and Sloth (among other things) by Gilbert Hernandez. Regardless of his artistic influences, however, what’s clear throughout this graphic novel is that Allan is an optimist who strives to explore the human heart in all of its intricate complexity." (

From Optical Sloth:

"All told, this is a remarkably insightful and honest book. The helplessness of Marie’s friend to do her any real good, her dad being unable with work to be any kind of full-time father to Marie, her alienation from kids at school (and even the teachers), all of these things would be bad enough. Throw in a mother who may or may not harm herself or Marie at any moment and who is incapable of being any kind of authority figure in Marie’s life and well, I’m impressed. There are all kinds of ways that this comic could have gone wrong, and Von managed to cut through it all and make an outstanding graphic novel. It looks like he has at least another project in the works, and judging from the quality of this book I’d say he’s someone to keep an eye on in the future." (

From Jalopy:

"A fantastic and self-aware work, I am thankful in my own way to have come across it. Available through Von Allan's website as a free, downloadable pdf copy, as well as through the Amazons, I advise against going for the computer screen version alone however, as digesting a wholeheartedly brilliant book such as this will fully compel you to want to support the work more viscerally.

Most definitely one of the finest graphic novels of the year, I think." (

From Sequential Tart:

"There's a lot to like about Allan's art and his storytelling. First and foremost is the fact that Marie is proportioned and dressed like a normal girl, not like some hottie who's fallen out of a Hot Topic catalog. She's a cute girl, but also awkward. The book seems to revel in the adolescent energy and uncertainty surrounding her. Allan's writing is stellar, and his dialogue never feels forced or unnatural. What's to be appreciated most about this book though, is the frank, compassionate way it deals with mental illness. In a day and age when people suffering from these diseases are still ostracized and used as the butt of jokes in popular media, or depicted as gross caricatures, it is a relief to "meet" Betty. Allan never sways from his point: Betty is a good person and a good mother, but she is also struggling to cope with a disease as soul-destroying as any cancer.

The world needs more books like this." (

From Ich Liebe Comics!:

"This is a really strong debut featuring great characters and a fine illustrative style about a subject, mental illness / schizophrenia, that is close to creator Von Allan, as his mother lived with this. The central character of the road to god knows... is Marie, a teenage girl whose mother is schizophrenic. As if it's not awkward enough just being a teenager, Marie lives alone with her mother (her father doesn't live with them), but Von Allan's the road to god knows... doesn't sensationalize his characters or the subject matter, rather he just portrays how people try to live with this" (

No Fly Zone:

"Sometimes, less is more. We don’t see or feel much from Marie’s father because he isn’t there. We share the absence with her. Similarly, the ending leaves the reader asking what happens next—not in the sense of giddy anticipation, but wondering if that’s all there is. But, that’s just it. The clues are there—that’s all there really is for her. Marie will go back to exactly the same situation with her mother. The story doesn’t continue, because there’s just more of the same waiting for her. This is a dark book, with only flashes of hope and whimsy. While it ends on a high note, we know that it won’t last. We all find our little pleasures and our tiny escapes, but for many people, life is a grim experience. No amount of pep-talking, optimism, or negotiation can change the fact that some people have it bad. Marie has grown a bit by the book’s end, but she still has an ongoing tragedy waiting for her at home." (

About "the road to god knows..."

The road to god knows... is an original graphic novel by Canadian cartoonist Von Allan. It features the story of Marie, a teenage girl coming to grips with her Mom's schizophrenia. As a result, she's struggling to grow up fast; wrestling with poverty, loneliness, and her Mom's illness every step of the way. With her Mom absorbed in her own problems, Marie is essentially alone while she learns to deal with the chaos in her young life.

148 pages, SRP $13.95 US, ISBN: 978-0-9781237-0-3

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