Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What I read: "Watchmen" by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

I finished reading "Watchmen" last week and have been putting off writing about it, because, frankly I'm not sure what to say about it. With all the buzz surrounding the upcoming movie based on this graphic novel and the fact that TIME Magazine has named it one of the 100 best English-language novels since 1923, I'm a bit intimidated to say anything negative about it.

I should start by saying this is the first graphic novel I've ever read. And yes, I'm a bit of a snob about it. I don't think a graphic novel should be classified as a "novel" on a list of best novels. I don't think it's fair. Regardless of how great the graphic novel is, I feel like it's a bit of a cheat -- if a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words did this author not have to write to tell this story?

That said, I didn't hate "Watchmen." I found it intriguing and the characters likable and unlikable in turns. Good and evil are not black and white, and there are some funny moments, some scary moments and nail-biting moments.

On the other hand, I can't say I would put this book on par with titles like "1984," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "The Great Gatsby," "Beloved" and "The Grapes of Wrath." I think the editors of TIME Magazine might have wanted to show how cool they are by including a graphic novel.

I'm not sure if I would have included "Are You There God? It's me, Margaret" either. I always preferred "Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing."

Check out TIME Magazine's full list here.

(And no, I haven't read every book on the list.)

1 comment:

Kate said...

There are some other questionable ones on that list, like Snow Crash, for instance. And I agree that graphic novels are not better or worse than traditional novels, but they are a completely different category of book. You can't compare apples and oranges.

As for the Time list, it looks like I've read 33 of the 100, and that's including false starts on Naked Lunch and Run Rabbit Run. I have to get my butt in gear!