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Ignored Independents - “Kampung Boy”

Kampung Boy Written and Illustrated by Lat :01 (First Second Books) Review by L’Indépendant Kampung Boy is the story of Mat, a young boy growing up in a village (kampung) in Malaysia. Lat describes Mat’s childhood as a child growing up in the predominantly Muslim country, and the education and social norms that accompany that. He paints the [...]

Kampung Boy CoverKampung Boy
Written and Illustrated by Lat
:01 (First Second Books)

Review by L’Indépendant

Kampung Boy is the story of Mat, a young boy growing up in a village (kampung) in Malaysia. Lat describes Mat’s childhood as a child growing up in the predominantly Muslim country, and the education and social norms that accompany that. He paints the picture of a warm but stern family dedicated to the proper upbringing of Mat and his siblings, all while trying to find a balance between giving him the life they never had and having him grow up and take over where they leave off when they grow old. All the while, the world around Mat is changing as the village moves from an agricultural economy to one centered around the tin mining industry.

Lat’s art is very expressive. At first glance, it’s something else to behold, but once you get into the story, you start to see the characters more realistically and start to see the expressions in their faces more and more. Add to that the beautiful backgrounds that take you right into the kampung and its surroundings, and you’ve got a tale that is visually engrossing. The story is filled with both humor and charm, and Lat does well to pace himself and to build up to the funny moments, and to provide enough background on moments in the story that might need some prior cultural understanding for those of us in the West unfamiliar with rural Malaysian customs and norms. Overall, it was a very good read, and I’ll be picking up the future volumes to learn more of Mat’s future.


Posted originally: 2006-10-24 03:44:24
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