Getting back on my kick of reading every graphic novel I can get through my library, I checked out a copy of Derek Kirk Kim’s story, Same Difference. The story focuses on Simon and Nancy, two friends who graduated from high school 7 years ago, but still find some of those same insecurities haunting them. Simon still regrets he lied to get out of going to a dance with his blind friend, while Nancy is obsessed with a guy who’s been sending letters and gifts to her address, trying to contact an old girlfriend who doesn’t live there anymore. When they realize that this mystery man lives in Simon’s hometown, the two set off to find him.
Same Difference follows the story thread of 20-somethings who may or may not be talented, but who also don’t know where to go in their lives; they’re stuck. This is something I’ve noticed in other graphic novels, like solanin, and while it tends to make me pretty uncomfortable, it’s also one of my favorite things to read. I have moments I look back on and feel like the worst person, and I’ve gone through what I see as an embarrassingly long stretch of feeling absolutely stuck in my life. But when I see other people, talented people like Derek Kirk Kim write about it and examine it, I get a combination of emotions: a little upset that there is no direct way to deal with these problems, and also immense relief, and even validation, that I’m not the only person who goes through this, that it’s part of life and it’ okay.
I don’t know if it’s something that specifically affects my generation, but I think Kim nailed it with this book. So I’m just going to leave off with a quote from Simon from the final pages of the book:
And look at me. What have I done since high school? Nothing! What to I have? Nothing! I’m really scared that I’m still the exact same pathetic loser weaving juvenile lies those 7 years ago. Am I any different now? Have I matured at all? I really don’t know…