Originally posted on Moonshine Arts magazine.
Good as Lily by Derek Kirk Kim
Minx (August 1, 2007)
Good as Lily, by Derek Kirk Kim and illustrated by Jesse Hamm, is a graphic novel geared towards those in high school and older. It is the story of young woman, Grace, finding her way through life, love, the future, and high school. Grace is a Korean-American high school student who on her 18th birthday finds herself with some rather unusual companions, multiple versions of herself. Grace spends the next few days with herself at 29, herself at 70, and herself at 6 years old. Together they explore the meaning of life and surviving high school.
Grace is a typical young woman with all the strengths and flaws that would be found in real life. She has friends, has arguments, finds love, and even sets fire to the high school gym, all in a short period of time. Kim deftly tells a tale of Grace, her friends, and the other Grace’s, overcoming their fears and dreams to achieve reality. At times they fail and give into the flaws that make them all too human and at other times they rise above their flaws and succeed. Kim successfully weaves in multiple versions of Grace and shows that no matter the age, no matter the wisdom, life still has challenges to face and everything isn’t always perfect.
Hamm’s illustrations are inspired by the world of manga and while not overly complex, add a sense of realism to the story being told. The images ground the story in real life, capturing the daily bits and grind of life that are often overlooked in the world around us, but let us know where we are.
Although Good as Lily is a relatively short tale, it delivers a great story. We see the range of emotions as the characters learn that growing up isn’t always easy and how they can adapt to the life and world around them. A great story for all ages.