Plans We Made, Simon Moreton, 162 pgs, Uncivilized Books, uncivilizedbooks.com, $19.95 US/$24.99 CAN
The hazy memories of late adolescence are something many of us cling to as we get older. We reflect on a time before we went off to “find ourselves” when all we had were what seemed like endless summers, uncertain futures and the tight bonds of friendship to help us keep it together. In his ultra minimalist graphic memoir Plans We Made, Simon Moreton poetically reflects upon this period in his life growing up in suburban England with both a nostalgic warmth and tinge of regret that most readers can relate to.
Plans We Made confidently subscribes to the “less is more” mantra of storytelling with it’s sparse use of words and almost pictographic images. Most people are rendered as either stick people or Joan Miro-esque ambiguous shapes. Backgrounds are often just a series of lines or the aforementioned shapes, but the images are able to tell the reader all they need to know perfectly and beautifully. The older we all get, memories become more vague, formless and dreamlike.
Stylistically Moreton’s work is similar to cartoonists such as John Porcellino, but story wise Plans We Made reminded me of the late Genevieve Castree’s Susceptible in the way the book bounced around through a period in their life with no neat conclusions or embellishments to add more drama. Moreton’s personal memories may actually be unreliable, but Plans We Made effectively makes them universal and relatable. (Matthew Daley)