Biography as fragments of a memory.
Rebecca Kraatz's House of Sugar is a melancholy look back at her childhood with the familial and social forces that shaped her through growing up. Told in short, four panel increments, Kraatz builds up the fragments and moments of her life, giving us insight into her personality.
Nothing much in Kraatz's life appears anything but perfectly normal. Growing up, she had an active imagination, typical crushes, friends, a few enemies and all the emotional growing pains that we all experience. On the outside, there's nothing in her life that makes her more worthy of an autobiography than you or me. And that's the charm in this book. Kraatz makes the normal and mundane into a fascinating and sometimes surreal experience, making growing up as strange and unreal now as it probably was back when we were all going through it.
The stream of conscience narrative flies fast and loose. Kraatz's mood and tone can change from page to page. On one page, she's describing a time when she missed an opportunity to be with a boy that she likes. On the next, she's relating personality types to famous actors from the 1940s. Then on the next, she's writing a letter to her late cousin, who died alone in Australia. The events and stories come with no real links or thoughts running through them other than Kraatz herself.
Memories don't happen in chronological order. You may start with one memory but then something will trigger another memory that happened eight years before. That memory could trigger something that happened six months after the first. They ebb and flow with no plan and no obvious meaning. That's what House of Sugar is, a memory-flow that's as much a puzzle as it is a story.
House of Sugar
Written and Drawn by: Rebecca Kraatz