Told through real-life journals, collages, lists, and drawings, this coming-of-age story illustrates the transformation of an 18-year-old girl from a small-town teenager into an independent city-dwelling college student. Written in an autobiographical style with beautiful artwork, Little Fish shows the challenges of being a young person facing the world on her own for the very first time and the unease—as well as excitement—that comes along with that challenge. – Goodreads
One of my highlights of ALAMW this past year (besides meeting/having my life become better because SOMEONE is in it) was because I met Ramsey Beyer and her book Little Fish. Then of course, because life happens, the book sat on my shelf and recently I picked it up and devoured it. In one sitting.
Highlight of my reading month to be honest.
I related a lot to Ramsey and her first year at college, her love of list making and realizing how polarizing your childhood home could be from freshman year of college when you live on your own. Through use of mixed media, lists, drawing and her livejournal, Beyer tells the story of her freshman year in art school when she moved away from her small town of Paw Paw to Baltimore, a place 700 miles or 10 hours from home.
While life in Paw Paw was good for Ramsey, she also knew that it was a very limited view of the world. She was excited to see what Baltimore would bring to her life. Because it spans the time period of one academic year you see her high school friends go from emailing her daily to barely emailing her and how it took her a bit to come out of her shell and find her group of college friends. When you grow up in a small town you know everyone and you tend to become friends for life. Ramsey jokes that she forgot how to make friends because she just always had them.
What made Little Fish stand out to me was the use of drawings, the inner dialogue, the lists. Oh the lists. 18 year old Ashley related to all the lists. Heck, the Ashley writing this review relates to all the lists. I often joke that my lists have lists and Ramsey seems to get that and embrace that side of her. She also over thought a lot and never hid that from her livejournal or the lists that she made throughout her freshman year. It works throughout Little Fish. Heck, I would love to fill my shelves with more books like this. Not just because of how well I related to it, but because how well done it was. It wasn’t your typical book, but maybe it should become more typical.