Active Images/Astral Gypsy Press
$12.95 (US) / $21.00 (Canada)
Readers of my (sorta) weekly column, "Write
Club," know that I fought a nasty battle with cancer. Although
I ultimately won my fight, the emotional and physical scars of my
disease still rear their ugly heads from time to time.
However, my fight seems trivial compared
to Al Davison's. Davison was born with Spina Bifida, a paralyzing
condition that can also result in brain damage. Doctors told Davison's
parents that their boy was a hopeless case and would probably die.
THE SPIRAL CAGE is the story of Davison's
triumph over both his disease and the preconceptions of others.
Something more than just an autobiography, THE SPIRAL CAGE explores
universal themes to which anyone can relate.
As Davison writes: "Funny things autobiographies
You start out to record events in your life, and the process becomes
an event in itself - capable of transforming your perceptions of
those previous events and even your life itself."
It's not surprising that a work like THE
SPIRAL CAGE would become a milestone in Davison's life. You and
I may not have Spina Bifida, but we've all dealt with issues of
childhood, religion, acceptance - and Davison's unflinching stare
at these common experiences is a revelation.
THE SPIRAL CAGE is a dense book, and not
always easy to read. Told in a non-linear fashion, Davison's story
requires your full attention. However, it's so compelling, so touching,
you can't help being pulled along by the narrative. Davison's mastery
of various illustrative styles heightens the experience, and the
black-and-white art is both starkly real and whimsically fantastic.
I dare you not to fall in love with the
depiction of Davison as a child - his indomitable spirit is infectious
and inspiring. "One day I wuz sitting reading my favouritist
book. The 'Velveteen Rabbit,'" says the young Davison. "I
wuz reading about the time the Velveteen Rabbit met two real rabbits
who chalinjed him to jump up and down, but he cudnt coz didn't have
propa legs (like me)."
Sure, THE SPIRAL CAGE is an examination
of the differences that set Davison apart from "normal"
people. But more than that, it's an exploration of the dreams and
hopes that we all share - an inspirational masterpiece that demands
a place on anyone's bookshelf.
Reviewer: Doug Giffin
Doug Giffin is the creator/writer of Harlow's End: Elijah's Tale
(as previously seen in Digital Webbing Presents #3). To see more
of Doug's work, visit his website at www.psychoengine.com
Any publishers that would like Doug Giffin
to do a review, please feel free to contact him here
or you can contact Ed Dukeshire on the contact
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