The Shiniest Jewel – Review

I expectedly recieved a copy of this title in the mail last week as a result of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer’s group. I’m exceptionally glad that I recieved this title, because this is a really heartwarming and unique work created by cartoonist Marian Henley.

First Line: One Christmas Eve, I drove to Dallas.

Written as a comic stip, like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Marian Henley takes us through the emotional rollercoaster ride that engulf the process of adopting an infant from Russia. Henly is in her late 40’s, and unwed, but has been in a long-term relationship for quite some time. She is worried about breaking the news of adopting a boy named Sergey to her family. Despite her concens, her family shows a surprising amount of encouragement and support. Not long after Sergey’s adoption is announced and Marian feels more secure with her decision to go through with the adoption, she finds out that she cannot adopt Sergey afterall. Marian deals with high levels of incompetence with her chosen adoption agency, who bungle Marian’s first attempt at adoption. Not long after, Marian tries again for a young boy named Igor. Throughout these struggles, Marian’s father goes to the hospital for mutiple surgeries and his health seems to be failing each day. A Family Love Story

This memoir is a tear-jerker, the blue and white cartoon images relate so much more of the story than a paragraph description could produce. Marian is a brave women for sticking her convictions and following through on her plan to adopt a child from Russia. Despite her tragedies in the process and her tragedies at home, this book provides insipiration for anyone who thinks “it just can’t get worse”, well, even if it does, it will somehow turn around and right itself.

The subtitle “A Family Love Story” captures the essence of this memoir, in that Marian is trying to complete the puzzle to her family through this adoption. She makes unique observations about life and death, youth and age.


The Shiniest Jewel – A Family Love Story
by Marian Henley
Springboard Press, 2008
ISBN 446199311
168 pages

Find this book at your local library

Buy this book from Better World Books

Buy this book from Amazon

3 responses to “The Shiniest Jewel – Review

  1. This was my first graphic novel (well, graphic memoir) and it was so sweet! A good introduction to the genre, I think.

  2. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone unsure if they would like the graphic novel format. Its a short tale, but full of emotions and incidents that would be difficult to describe for novice writers.

  3. Thanks for the review and thanks for linking to Better World Books! Receive a 10% discount with the coupon code: JHAL08
    Coupon good for a one-time use on or before December 31, 2008.

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