Home After Dark
By David Small
Published by Liveright
Home after dark tells the story of Russel, a kid growing up in 50s/60s USA who moves with his father to California after a messy divorce. There, Russel has to deal with the toxic climate around him, the drunken stupor his father has fallen into, and the constant social pressure of the age. It gets pretty dark in places.
The art is monochromatic watercolor and pen. It uses simple, jagged lines and few highlights to show the scene. It works well, and also gives the world around the story along with the characters an edge of meanspiritedness that reinforces the characters. The characters are decent, but the art makes them all seem like bad people, which they are for the most part.
The characters can be flat at times, but they serve the story well. There are a quite a few characters that are one note and boring, but there are some strong characters here, like Russel's friends. Russel himself isn't the best, but he doesn't do anything out of character.
The setting is the suburbs, and the book really gives them that bleak hopelessness they always try to hide. there were a few interesting choices made, but mostly it was boring and bleak.
The plot is pretty heavy at times. It deals with a lot of big issues for this time, especially homophobia. The story gets dark fast, with few of the characters getting a truly happy ending. It is not a fun book to read.
This is a depressing book for sure. Over all, it's good, but not spectacular. I would recommend it if you need a good dose of heavy stuff.