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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Love as a Foreign Language Vol. 1 Review

Written by J. Torres; Illustrated by Eric Kim
Oni Press; $5.95

Let’s get one thing out in the open right away. I’ve never traveled abroad. Part of me is scared to be in a place where I don’t know of a word of the language. I say and do embarrassing things every day here in the States. I don’t know if I could be trusted in a whole new culture. That fear of mine helps me understand main character Joel’s angst about Korea in the book.

In Love as a Foreign Language Joel has signed a year contract to teach English at a Korean elementary school. He has three months left on his contract and is completely fed up with every last thing about Korea. He hates his apartment, his job, the food, and the people. All Joel wants is home. He is about to quit his job and fly back to the States when new school secretary the beautiful Hana Song is hired. This intriguing young woman might be just who and what Joel is seeking.

The first thing I noticed about this book was Kim’s art. The book has a certain manga feel to it. The characters have abnormally pointy chins. Kim also uses many textures popular in manga. The book is gorgeous throughout.

The story is also off to a great start. I found myself looking forward to the second volume, before I was done with the first. Torres writes Joel so the reader is left wanting to know more about him. What makes him tick? Why is he so unhappy? Why did he come to Korea in the first place? I’m not sure if these questions will be answered later in the series, but I’m going to stick around to find out.

Torres introduces Hana as the book comes to an end. The reader isn’t given much information about her, besides the fact that she is attractive. The chemistry between Joel and Hana is there though and I can’t wait to find out more.

I picked this book up a few volumes into the series. It’s not too late to jump on and I recommend that you do. It’s the most heartfelt book on the market right now.

Bottom Line: A

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