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Short & Skinny

Review

Short & Skinny

SHORT & SKINNY is a graphic memoir by Mark Tatulli that focuses on the summer between seventh andeighth grade. Mark is tired of being short and skinny and is determined to bulk up so that he can make a triumphant return to Memorial Junior High School in the fall. At the beginning of the summer Mark is lured in by the ads at the back of comic books that promise things like giant muscles in just seven days, so he sends away for all of the advertised solutions that he can afford.

"SHORT & SKINNY is extremely funny in both its text and illustrations....Tatulli’s illustrations and text expertly capture the time period of the late 1970s..."

The summer that is featured in SHORT & SKINNY is 1977, which happens to be when the first “Star Wars” movie came out. Needless to say, Mark, his friends and almost everyone else on the planet quickly becomes obsessed with the movie and the “Star Wars” universe. Almost immediately after seeing the movie, Mark starts writing a script for a parody he calls “Star Bores.” The rest of the summer is spent writing, starring in and directing “Star Bores,” navigating life and trying to get big.

SHORT & SKINNY is extremely funny in both its text and illustrations. Tatulli’s illustration style is heavy with choppy lines, but it serves the tone of the storyline well. In addition, Tatulli’s illustrations and text expertly capture the time period of the late 1970s. SHORT & SKINNY reminds me of the current television show “The Goldbergs,” with its look at the past and a childhood through a comedic lens.

However, it is this that makes me wonder if SHORT & SKINNY will appeal to a broad audience as in many ways it is an ode to the summer of 1977. That is not to say that SHORT & SKINNY doesn’t deal with timeless issues and themes, such as bullies, family, identity and body acceptance as it certainly does and does it well. But as someone who was born in the 1970s it is difficult for me to accurately judge whether or not it will appeal to current middle school students; I sure hope that they give it a try as SHORT & SKINNY has a lot to offer!

Reviewed by Aimee Rogers on October 25, 2018

Short & Skinny
by Mark Tatulli