Too Cool to be Forgotten: wish fulfillment graphic novel becomes something lovelier by far

I read an early review copy of Alex Robinson's touching and funny graphic novel Too Cool to Be Forgotten back in March, an emerged from it feeling uplifted, happy, and a little melancholy. Robert Wicks goes to a holistic clinic with his wife to get hypnotherapy for smoking cessation and finds himself spiralling into the mind of his 15-year-old self, on the verge of smoking his first cigarette. With impeccable dream-logic, Wicks concludes that all he needs to do is resist that fateful butt and he'll be catapulted back to his present-day self on the therapist's couch. In the meantime, he can relive all the awkward and joyous moments of adolescence, revisiting his pals and making amends for his foolishness, confronting the bullies, and winning the affections of the girl he never had the guts to talk to.

This is great wish-fulfillment fodder, and the low-calorie comic-book approach eases the reader directly into the fantasy without much cognitive load, allowing you to revel in the what-if game of being able to tell your adolescent self everything you know today. But beneath that light dreamy sense is a deepening feeling of dread, a sense that everything is not what it seems.

By the story's end, wish fulfillment has become something much more challenging and, frankly, beautiful. There's a lot going on in this little book.

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