The Bottomless Belly Button

By Dash Shaw; Gary Groth (Editor); Jacob Covey (Designed by)
(Fantagraphics Books, Paperback, 9781560979159, 720pp.)

Publication Date: June 2008

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Description
Bottomless Belly Button is a comedy-drama that follows the dysfunctional adventures of the Loony Family. After 40-some years of marriage, Maggie and David Loony shock their children with their announcement of a planned divorce. But the reason for splitting isn't itself shocking: they re "just not in love any more." The announcement sparks a week long Loony family reunion at Maggie and David's creepy (and possibly haunted) beach house. The eldest child, Dennis, struggles with his parents' decision while facing difficulties of his own in his recent marriage. Believing that his parents are hiding the true reasons behind their estrangement, Dennis embarks on a quest to discover the truth and searches through clues, trap doors, and secret tunnels in attempt to find an answer. Claire, the middle child, is a single mother whose 16-year-old daughter, Jill, is apathetic to the divorce but confounded by Claire and troubled by her own "mannish" appearance. The youngest child, Peter, is a hack filmmaker suffering from paralyzing insecurities who establishes an unorthodox romance with a mysterious day care counselor at the beach. In a six-day period rich with atmospheric sequences, these characters stumble blindly around one another, often ignoring their surroundings and consumed by their own daily conflicts. Visually, Shaw employs a leisurely storytelling pace that allows room for exploring the interconnecting relationships among the characters and plays to his strength as a cartoonist small gestural details and nuanced expressions that bring the characters to vivid and intimate life. If the controversial R.D. Laing wrote an episode of The Simpsons, it might read something like Bottomless Belly Button. Official Selection, 2009 Festival International de la Bande Dessin e de Angoul me; named one of Publishers Weekly's 2008 "Best Books of the Year: Comics;" named one of Booklist's "Top 10 Graphic Novels" of the Year."

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