Contemporary Realistic Fiction · Graphic Novel · Review

Shoplifter by Michael Cho

Shoplifter by Michael ChoPublisher: Pantheon Books

Pub. Date: 2014

Genres: Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Graphic Novel

Pages: 96

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

I picked up Michael Cho’s Shoplifter because I was interested in a story about an English major—five years out of college—who realizes that she has only been writing copy for an advertising company and that won’t change if she continues down this path. That is an interesting premise. Sadly, the story falls short of interesting.

Sporting a black short-cropped hairstyle and a business suit, Corinna Park is an introverted English major who works for an advertising company that does not fulfill her. She would like to write novels, like many an English major, but she was hoping that something would happen to put her into a better career. My problem with this is that her love-hate relationship with her major is all that embodies her. The shoplifter part of her character is a weak addition that provided little to the story.

The shoplifting portion initially reminded me of Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS until it became clear that the shoplifting bit was a gimmick that added nothing to Corinna’s character. There was little reason for it, and Corinna seemed unchanged even when confronted by it.

I wanted to know more about her career in the advertising agency or the love life she is disinterestedly pursuing. The plot was too simple, and there was hardly much skin in the game for Corinna. The issues that weigh in her mind do not feel like issues she wants to resolve or truly considers problems.

No matter what ending Cho went with, it could be considered cliche. My problem with the ending is that it is not clear why it ends that way, based on Corinna’s choices.

The artwork is beautiful. The color scheme works, though I am not sure why. Most other colors would not work because they give a false theme of emotion that is not there. The pink is a surprising medium color that adds to Corinna’s emotions. The faces of characters were drawn in a round yet detailed style that enriched the book. The details in scenes and in the characters help create full images that give more insight into emotions and actions.

This is an okay graphic novel. If you want a quick read with lots of pictures, you might like Shoplifter by Michael Cho. Otherwise, pass on it.

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