I've gradually stopped citing book reviews here on my blog, instead using my WHTTWOT Facebook Fan Page to point them out when I find them. Someday I'll write a blog post about how my perspective on reviews has evolved over time to where I've pretty much resolved not to pay them much mind or respond to them, good or bad. Basically, I needed to grow a thicker skin.
But WHTTWOT did get nice mentions on two critics' year-end "Best of 2009" lists that I didn't want to pass unnoticed. Many terrific graphic novels and comics were published last year, and just to be considered in their company is a nice achievement and honor.
On Comic Book Resource's "Robot 6" blog, Brigid Alverson called WHTTWOT one of her ten favorite books of 2009: "This is a flawed masterpiece, but a masterpiece nonetheless. Fies looks at changing attitudes toward science through the eyes of a boy and his father as they live through World War II, the Cold War, and the space age, and he intersperses this narrative with a fictional comic reflecting each era. A bit talky but interesting and beautifully produced."
My book also earned an Honorable Mention on a 2009 Top Ten list put together by Marc Sobel of Comic Book Galaxy's "Trouble With Comics" column. He wrote: "I've seen a few negative or lukewarm reviews of this book, which I think are pretty unfair. The story is a little light, I'll admit, but Fies is a cartoonist with tremendous range. I love the way he varies his style in this book to reflect the maturity of his lead character, and his use of digital tools, from embedded photos to digital coloring and effects, is impressive. There's also a sweetness to this book that I found refreshing. So many graphic novels these days focus on human tragedy and violence. It was a pleasant change of pace to read about a boy who loved and idealized his father, even if the end result was a little sappy. Not quite a top 10 book, but far better than the criticism it’s received."
There's no need for well-meaning friends to race to my defense in the comments, protesting the "flawed" or "talky" or "sappy" criticisms. They're fair--heck, I'll even cop to them. In the big picture, at the end of a year overflowing with great books by very talented people, these critics thought enough of mine to include it on their lists. I appreciate that a lot.