The Bottom Line: A good read about a sensitive topic
The title Cheat is so simple but holds so much meaning for all of us. Everyone has cheated in some way, be it in elementary school on a test (or worse, in college), with a partner, or at a job, and (at least for me) just the word sometimes makes me relive my mistakes. I grabbed this cheap, $6.00 graphic novel while in Chicago (again, with my geek friends) along with Clumsy. Both books were in a small section in a small, cramped corner of the store where I could probably spend entire days just reading. As I said before, I never thought of myself as a big graphic novel fan, but lately I find myself enjoying the easy (but often more in depth than you'd think) reading more and more.
Cheat, written by Christine Norrie, is a very short, fairly small book. The front cover's artwork is gorgeous but simple; orangey earth tones with simple but fantastic vector-looking graphics. (I have to admit, after the classes I've been taking at school, creating artwork and a graphic novel like this is becoming a dream of mine but let me tell you, the process is often painstakingly time consuming.) I finished the story in about 30 minutes.
The story begins Marc and Janey, a couple moving into a new apartment next door to a friend-couple of theirs, Anna and Davis. Marc, with Janey's help, writes travel books, and thus travels quite often, sometimes leaving Janey at home to work on the "less-fun" activities involved in their job. This causes tension in their relationship occasionally, which I experienced immediately. They seem to get along quite well, though, with Anna and Davis, and the four seem to hang out quite often. At one point, Anna has gone for the weekend to visit her parents, and Davis and Janey run into each other and end up talking and hanging out quite a bit. Janey begins airing out her problems with Marc to Davis, exclaiming that Anna is lucky to have a guy like him. They hang out a few times, and Janey seems to spend a little time worrying about his impression of her. It's easy to guess by the title Cheat what happens, but I don't want to ruin too many details of this short story for you...
The story is short and pretty obvious in where it is going at all times. I enjoyed it, but it's a tiny bit disappointing when you already know the main storyline. However, reading the details of the story was very interesting; this is the kind of story that kept me interested because I felt like I was being let in on a secret. Christine Norrie captured my attention with her artwork, which told a lot of the story by itself. Her attention to detail was fantastic. You could see mischief in characters' eyes at some points, as well as pain, anger, and happiness. Their body language was phenomenal as well... how some can transfer characters' body language and personalities into their drawings is what truly makes someone an artist. Many of the frames didn't have dialogue, but because the author was so complete in the rest of her story and drawings it was easy to draw conclusions. As I mentioned before, it's obvious she spent a lot of time working on this, and this book is a very admirable example of the hard work people put into their products.
The end of the story is a little ironic, which was good to me, as a lot of the other parts of the story were expected. I would say one of the worst things about this book was that it was obvious what would happen sometimes, although that's something you sacrifice when you buy a book for its title. The story and drawings, however, and especially the ending made up for this little disappointment, and I'm on the lookout for other works by Christine Norrie, now.
A warning: this book does contain adult themes, obviously, and may not be appropriate for younger readers.
This is a great, cheap book, and in my opinion, worth the $6.00 price tag, though if you can find it at a library, it would be a good idea to check it out first.