Written by: Matt Molgaard
Frank Larnerd delivers a nice spin on bullying and revenge, issues that plague every walk of society, to some measure. In this specific tale, Tale it Like a Man, we’re confronted with childhood abuse, and, something a bit darker.
Squeak’s a scrawny little fellow who has a damn tough go of things at school. The residing bully, Stomper, has chosen him as a regular target, being so feeble and defenseless, but that may well be the worst mistake conceivable. There are dark thoughts in the mind of Squeak.
See, Squeak’s got some fight in him, and he’s got a gun.
Don’t let that sentence leave you panicked. This is no psycho bully victim shoots up the school killing handfuls of innocent’s. Take it Like a Man is a bit more clever than that, and certainly more tasteful.
There’s a twist to this tale that plays faithful to so many fact based cases that it’s both unnerving and heart breaking. Without leaping too deep into the story’s details, I’ll simply say this: that gun Squeak’s gotten his hands on, may not end up being Stomper’s death dealer.
The positive and negative connections that Larnerd creates work well at mirroring the ebb and flow children experience during relationships. Nothing is every perfect, but things can work out between kids: Frank understands this and illustrates it quite well, especially in the story’s introduction and finale. The man is in touch.
I really can’t get too wordy with this review, as the story itself flies by in the blink of an eye at roughly 15 pages, but I will say that there’s a tangible realism that leaps from these pages, and it’s all rather jarring. The revelations that unfold will tug at your heart strings, pull at the grin on your face, and weigh heavy on the heart. The fact that Larnerd fleshes out so many emotions in so few words really speaks for itself.