Beverly Garside

Midwest Book Review

An impressive storyline that captures the reader's attention and holds it firmly from beginning to end, "I and You" is a graphic novel that is as entertaining, original, and thought-provoking, making it highly recommended reading. It should be noted that "I and You" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

Self-Publishing Review

This Ayn Rand-inspired comic book from writer Beverly Garside and illustrator Lucas Duimstra is a refreshing read in my pile of reviews this month.

Drawing on the social theory by novelist Rand of Objectivism, i.e. that the sole purpose of life is to pursue one’s own happiness, and to basically act individually in everything to better oneself (hence the title alluding to the outlawed use of the word “we”), we follow Sara, a young official working for a military sector which monitors activity across the nation via cameras a little like Big Brother’s CCTV style watch. Sara believes very much in the selfish manifesto of her beloved republic – and is shocked when her brother starts taking part in team activities and using the word “we”.

As her boyfriend starts to act more than selfishly and her colleagues turn on her in ways she couldn’t imagine could happen in her safe world, she starts to see the flipside of the perfection she thought existed in her life – and develops some questions of her own.

It’s nice to see a self-published comic book of such calibre – Duimstra was faced with some pretty neat challenges in illustrating this book and his woodcut style comes off fabulously here. Illustrations are sketchy and imperfect in a way that adds to the story – spikey and inky, they are exactly right for this epic tale.

The story is along the lines of Divergent or Equlibrium, which makes it bang on the money for this season’s storytelling, with the craze for stories such as The Hunger Games right now.

However, the book is highly detailed and somewhat complicated in its political and military crafting – sometimes I was admittedly a little lost on the strategies as the tale unfolded, so it may be really more for an adult audience than a young adult read. But – good! Not everything has to be for young adults – lately it has been appearing that way.

This world is one to get lost in – there are beautiful details such as the cultivating of mini whales for aquariums, a whole community of lost souls outside the city who act like zombies, and educate their kids via a TV show because they can’t afford school.  The book really does come alive when you start getting into it.

Sara is not a very nice woman to begin with, but her passion and dedication to the State does hold your interest – she makes rookie errors in her self-aggrandisement which kind of endears her to the reader and induces a feeling of rooting for her salvation as all around her fight against the dictatorship forced upon the global community. When cracks start appearing in her plans for life, the reader can only feel sorry for her and the grim family she is part of. The story then takes a turn and becomes incredibly exciting as Sara gets involved with rebels and spies.

There are definite parallels with world events today, and using Ayn Rand’s theory bridges the gap between fiction and reality – making it a more scary thought that maybe if the world carries on down the same path of narcissism, this is where we could end up.

A brave and massive tale from a solid pairing of talent – I can only hope another book is in conception.

Indie Reader

I And You
By Beverly Garside

 ***
IR Verdict: I AND YOU is a sharp and vigorous political satire, well-drawn and reasonably deftly if unsubtly handled. As with most political satires, though, it will probably appeal primarily to those who agree with its perspective already.

Book Reviews, eBooks, Fiction, Graphic Novel  •  Mar 16, 2014
Unknown

The modern USA has been divided into three countries by 2098 – the Confederate States of New Jerusalem, the United Socialist States of America, and the Randian Republic of Atlantis, a libertarian utopia founded by the secession of Montana, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona. In the RRA, individualism is taken so far that charity is scorned, government functions are all privatized, and even the word “we” is banned, replaced by “I and you”. Sara Storm is a young woman from Boise, just graduated from John Galt University, steeped in her culture’s ideals, ready to begin her adult life with a new job and a new fiance. But her experiences in the real world lead her to question everything she knows as her love life, her working life, and even her country threaten to crumble around her.

The world-building here, if unsubtle politically, is rather well done – the author does not stint on the little details. The miniaturized orcas are a particularly charming touch. The illustrator, Lucas Duimstra, has a stark, dramatic style that goes well with the story’s political tone. The difficulties of the RRA are given believable antecedents in the country’s ideology and its natural consequences, and Sara is a likeable character, showing admirable resilience in the face of disaster. The plot is lively, with enough twists and turns to keep it entertaining, particularly at the end.

The political message, however, is blatant and unsubtle, with a rather black-and-white political viewpoint. Whether this is appealing to the reader or obnoxious will no doubt depend on one’s own political perspective. Most of the minor characters are essentially extremist propaganda-spouting caricatures, with only a few having more three-dimensional personalities. While this is accounted for by the story, it still becomes tiresome at times. At times, there are hints of things going on – like the hunting of feral humans – which perhaps deserve more plot attention than the book had time for. As they are, it seems as if they were just brought out to horrify Sara – and the reader – and then dropped.

I AND YOU is a sharp and vigorous political satire, well-drawn and reasonably deftly if unsubtly handled. As with most political satires, though, it will probably appeal primarily to those who agree with its perspective already.

Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader
- See more at: http://indiereader.com/2014/03/i-and-you/#sthash.aTiUVfcv.dpuf

I And You

By Beverly Garside

 ★★★☆☆ 

IR Verdict: I AND YOU is a sharp and vigorous political satire, well-drawn and reasonably deftly if unsubtly handled. As with most political satires, though, it will probably appeal primarily to those who agree with its perspective already.

- See more at: http://indiereader.com/2014/03/i-and-you/#sthash.QJIJXrJi.dpuf

I And You

By Beverly Garside

 ★★★☆☆ 

IR Verdict: I AND YOU is a sharp and vigorous political satire, well-drawn and reasonably deftly if unsubtly handled. As with most political satires, though, it will probably appeal primarily to those who agree with its perspective already.

Book Reviews, eBooks, Fiction, Graphic Novel  •  Mar 16, 2014

The modern USA has been divided into three countries by 2098 – the Confederate States of New Jerusalem, the United Socialist States of America, and the Randian Republic of Atlantis, a libertarian utopia founded by the secession of Montana, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona. In the RRA, individualism is taken so far that charity is scorned, government functions are all privatized, and even the word “we” is banned, replaced by “I and you”. Sara Storm is a young woman from Boise, just graduated from John Galt University, steeped in her culture’s ideals, ready to begin her adult life with a new job and a new fiance. But her experiences in the real world lead her to question everything she knows as her love life, her working life, and even her country threaten to crumble around her.

The world-building here, if unsubtle politically, is rather well done – the author does not stint on the little details. The miniaturized orcas are a particularly charming touch. The illustrator, Lucas Duimstra, has a stark, dramatic style that goes well with the story’s political tone. The difficulties of the RRA are given believable antecedents in the country’s ideology and its natural consequences, and Sara is a likeable character, showing admirable resilience in the face of disaster. The plot is lively, with enough twists and turns to keep it entertaining, particularly at the end.

The political message, however, is blatant and unsubtle, with a rather black-and-white political viewpoint. Whether this is appealing to the reader or obnoxious will no doubt depend on one’s own political perspective. Most of the minor characters are essentially extremist propaganda-spouting caricatures, with only a few having more three-dimensional personalities. While this is accounted for by the story, it still becomes tiresome at times. At times, there are hints of things going on – like the hunting of feral humans – which perhaps deserve more plot attention than the book had time for. As they are, it seems as if they were just brought out to horrify Sara – and the reader – and then dropped.

I AND YOU is a sharp and vigorous political satire, well-drawn and reasonably deftly if unsubtly handled. As with most political satires, though, it will probably appeal primarily to those who agree with its perspective already.

Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader

- See more at: http://indiereader.com/2014/03/i-and-you/#sthash.QJIJXrJi.dpuf

I And You

By Beverly Garside

 ★★★☆☆ 

IR Verdict: I AND YOU is a sharp and vigorous political satire, well-drawn and reasonably deftly if unsubtly handled. As with most political satires, though, it will probably appeal primarily to those who agree with its perspective already.

Book Reviews, eBooks, Fiction, Graphic Novel  •  Mar 16, 2014

The modern USA has been divided into three countries by 2098 – the Confederate States of New Jerusalem, the United Socialist States of America, and the Randian Republic of Atlantis, a libertarian utopia founded by the secession of Montana, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona. In the RRA, individualism is taken so far that charity is scorned, government functions are all privatized, and even the word “we” is banned, replaced by “I and you”. Sara Storm is a young woman from Boise, just graduated from John Galt University, steeped in her culture’s ideals, ready to begin her adult life with a new job and a new fiance. But her experiences in the real world lead her to question everything she knows as her love life, her working life, and even her country threaten to crumble around her.

The world-building here, if unsubtle politically, is rather well done – the author does not stint on the little details. The miniaturized orcas are a particularly charming touch. The illustrator, Lucas Duimstra, has a stark, dramatic style that goes well with the story’s political tone. The difficulties of the RRA are given believable antecedents in the country’s ideology and its natural consequences, and Sara is a likeable character, showing admirable resilience in the face of disaster. The plot is lively, with enough twists and turns to keep it entertaining, particularly at the end.

The political message, however, is blatant and unsubtle, with a rather black-and-white political viewpoint. Whether this is appealing to the reader or obnoxious will no doubt depend on one’s own political perspective. Most of the minor characters are essentially extremist propaganda-spouting caricatures, with only a few having more three-dimensional personalities. While this is accounted for by the story, it still becomes tiresome at times. At times, there are hints of things going on – like the hunting of feral humans – which perhaps deserve more plot attention than the book had time for. As they are, it seems as if they were just brought out to horrify Sara – and the reader – and then dropped.

I AND YOU is a sharp and vigorous political satire, well-drawn and reasonably deftly if unsubtly handled. As with most political satires, though, it will probably appeal primarily to those who agree with its perspective already.

Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader

- See more at: http://indiereader.com/2014/03/i-and-you/#sthash.QJIJXrJi.dpuf

I And You

By Beverly Garside

 ★★★☆☆ 

IR Verdict: I AND YOU is a sharp and vigorous political satire, well-drawn and reasonably deftly if unsubtly handled. As with most political satires, though, it will probably appeal primarily to those who agree with its perspective already.

Book Reviews, eBooks, Fiction, Graphic Novel  •  Mar 16, 2014

The modern USA has been divided into three countries by 2098 – the Confederate States of New Jerusalem, the United Socialist States of America, and the Randian Republic of Atlantis, a libertarian utopia founded by the secession of Montana, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona. In the RRA, individualism is taken so far that charity is scorned, government functions are all privatized, and even the word “we” is banned, replaced by “I and you”. Sara Storm is a young woman from Boise, just graduated from John Galt University, steeped in her culture’s ideals, ready to begin her adult life with a new job and a new fiance. But her experiences in the real world lead her to question everything she knows as her love life, her working life, and even her country threaten to crumble around her.

The world-building here, if unsubtle politically, is rather well done – the author does not stint on the little details. The miniaturized orcas are a particularly charming touch. The illustrator, Lucas Duimstra, has a stark, dramatic style that goes well with the story’s political tone. The difficulties of the RRA are given believable antecedents in the country’s ideology and its natural consequences, and Sara is a likeable character, showing admirable resilience in the face of disaster. The plot is lively, with enough twists and turns to keep it entertaining, particularly at the end.

The political message, however, is blatant and unsubtle, with a rather black-and-white political viewpoint. Whether this is appealing to the reader or obnoxious will no doubt depend on one’s own political perspective. Most of the minor characters are essentially extremist propaganda-spouting caricatures, with only a few having more three-dimensional personalities. While this is accounted for by the story, it still becomes tiresome at times. At times, there are hints of things going on – like the hunting of feral humans – which perhaps deserve more plot attention than the book had time for. As they are, it seems as if they were just brought out to horrify Sara – and the reader – and then dropped.

I AND YOU is a sharp and vigorous political satire, well-drawn and reasonably deftly if unsubtly handled. As with most political satires, though, it will probably appeal primarily to those who agree with its perspective already.

Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader

- See more at: http://indiereader.com/2014/03/i-and-you/#sthash.QJIJXrJi.dpuf

I And You

By Beverly Garside

 ★★★☆☆ 

IR Verdict: I AND YOU is a sharp and vigorous political satire, well-drawn and reasonably deftly if unsubtly handled. As with most political satires, though, it will probably appeal primarily to those who agree with its perspective already.

Book Reviews, eBooks, Fiction, Graphic Novel  •  Mar 16, 2014

The modern USA has been divided into three countries by 2098 – the Confederate States of New Jerusalem, the United Socialist States of America, and the Randian Republic of Atlantis, a libertarian utopia founded by the secession of Montana, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona. In the RRA, individualism is taken so far that charity is scorned, government functions are all privatized, and even the word “we” is banned, replaced by “I and you”. Sara Storm is a young woman from Boise, just graduated from John Galt University, steeped in her culture’s ideals, ready to begin her adult life with a new job and a new fiance. But her experiences in the real world lead her to question everything she knows as her love life, her working life, and even her country threaten to crumble around her.

The world-building here, if unsubtle politically, is rather well done – the author does not stint on the little details. The miniaturized orcas are a particularly charming touch. The illustrator, Lucas Duimstra, has a stark, dramatic style that goes well with the story’s political tone. The difficulties of the RRA are given believable antecedents in the country’s ideology and its natural consequences, and Sara is a likeable character, showing admirable resilience in the face of disaster. The plot is lively, with enough twists and turns to keep it entertaining, particularly at the end.

The political message, however, is blatant and unsubtle, with a rather black-and-white political viewpoint. Whether this is appealing to the reader or obnoxious will no doubt depend on one’s own political perspective. Most of the minor characters are essentially extremist propaganda-spouting caricatures, with only a few having more three-dimensional personalities. While this is accounted for by the story, it still becomes tiresome at times. At times, there are hints of things going on – like the hunting of feral humans – which perhaps deserve more plot attention than the book had time for. As they are, it seems as if they were just brought out to horrify Sara – and the reader – and then dropped.

I AND YOU is a sharp and vigorous political satire, well-drawn and reasonably deftly if unsubtly handled. As with most political satires, though, it will probably appeal primarily to those who agree with its perspective already.

Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader

- See more at: http://indiereader.com/2014/03/i-and-you/#sthash.QJIJXrJi.dpuf

Bookpleasures.com

Format:Paperback
How delicious satire is when it’s well done! Irish have it in their DNA—just look at Shaw, Wilde, Swift, and others who have skewered the British elites—so I love satire even though I can’t write it well. Political satire, of course, is generally hated by the satirized and loved by those who agree with it. In this book, you’ll find political satire that is hilarious in its best moments and at least enjoyable in its worst, unless you’re a Libertarian. If you fall into that cult that worships in Ayn Rand’s church, this book is probably not for you.
I’ve never reviewed a graphic novel before, but this one was so intriguing I couldn’t resist. I came to the conclusion I might be doing something like this now if I’d had any success making my own comic books as I learned to read and not to draw between ages three and four. My art was bad and what I put in those balloons was probably only slightly better. Fine satire is always embedded in an interesting story, and Ms. Garside puts many entertaining things in those balloons and figure captions to make one. Duimstra, the artist, has drawn well too, although I can only judge it with an amateur’s eyes. I like what I read and see.
The setting: The Randian Republic of Atlantis (Atlas more than shrugs here, but Atlantis doesn’t fall into the sea), comprised of the old states of Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, and Montana; surrounded by the United Socialist States of America (USSA), comprised of all other old states including Florida, but not including the old Southern states making up the Unified States of New Jerusalem. The latter plays no role in the story, but, for our Canadian friends, we have Montreal and Quebec, once more part of France, playing a minor role as they team up with Japan against the Randian Republic. For the latter, the real enemy is the USSA, of course. The year is 2098.
The protagonists: Sara, a citizen of Atlantis and new member of a company’s security group which monitors what goes on in the USSA (companies run the Randian Republic, but you already knew that, right?); and Warren, one of her co-workers. Sara’s brother and parents play minor roles.
The story: Sara discovers that real people around her don’t behave like her heroes in Rand’s novels. She finds out that the egotistical “I,” or even changing “we” to “I and you,” isn’t what’s important in life. This story is surprisingly well developed for this media—the length helps, I suppose.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few satirical bonbons. Atlantis’ main university is John Galt U., of course (presumably they teach their students to be better public speakers than Mr. Galt). Ms. Garside knows some Spanish, because she names one TV reporter Calvo Mentira (I would have used Calvado Mentiroso, a better translation of “Baldfaced Liar,” but that’s nitpicking). The most serious crime in the Randian Republic is BOC, Breach of Contract. You get the idea.
An ancillary theme is how history is rewritten by people with political agendas. My one problem with this poke at current American culture is Sara’s discovery of “historical truth” in her brother’s book of the 1945 siege of Berlin from the Nazi viewpoint. The Nazis were fascists, not socialists, in spite of the name. In fact, true socialists and Marxists were among the groups, notably including the Jews, who were persecuted and murdered by the Third Reich monsters. Maybe the lesson here should be that extreme socialism (World War II fascism, for example) and extreme, uncontrolled capitalism (a completely Libertarian society) are just two sides of the same old coin, and we should move beyond the ideologies that take us to those dark places.
In summary, with the exception of the caveats above, most people will have fun with this book if they’re into this art form and satire. I’m a convert.
(The reviewer was provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review.}

The Pierce Progressive

"I and You" by Beverly Garside

Richard Smaby

BOOK REVIEW

We act out of self-interest. That is certainly true – sometimes. Ayn Rand took this idea and elevated it to the central motivation for economic, social and political acts. In her graphic novel I and You author Beverly Garside pokes holes in Rand’s ideas. The presentation of Ayn Rand’s philosophy in this book would certainly be considered simplistic and heavy-handed by Randians. On the other hand, Ayn Rand herself initially presented her ideas in novels, which critics found to be simplistic moral philosophy. Indeed, the story in Garside’s graphic novel is a plausible continuation of the fictional history told in Atlas Shrugged – but with a negative valuation of Rand’s ideas.

The story takes place in 2098 with the United States of America split along ideological lines into three geographic regions: the Randian Republic of Atlantis (RRA), the United Socialist States of America (USSA), and the Confederate States of New Jerusalem. Most of the action takes place in the RRA.

The author holds our interest focusing on the development of the central character, Sara Storm. We follow her life from the point that that she graduates from a program run by the military contractor, the Wyatt Corporation, and obtains her dream job with that same military contractor. She worships at the altar of self (an actual personal altar, which every upstanding Randian has). But then she experiences being mistreated by her superiors and abandoned by subordinates because of their total focus on self. The story takes us through family tensions, a love triangle, espionage and war. Even though she recognizes the harm done to her and others by the culture of the RRA, it is hard for her to overcome her indoctrination to hate all things socialist.

The title "I and You" is both a play on the usual convention in English of saying "you and I" to indicate respect for the person spoken to and on "we," which implies a sense of the collective – anathema to the Randians.

To say Ayn Rand’s political and moral views are very much alive today in the real world is to state the obvious. Nevertheless, it is useful to be reminded that self-promotion at the expense of others has a long history. And people continue to cite her views as underlying their own. In 2005 Paul Ryan credited Ayn Rand with being a key factor in his decision to go into politics. He said that he liked to check passages from Atlas Shrugged to make sure that his beliefs and actions follow the principles of individualism. Later he toned down his support for her, when he found out that she was an atheist and that two of the main characters in book had an adulterous relationship.

Goodreads

Atlas Eviscerated

Full disclosure: There is no writer on earth I loathe more passionately than the unspeakably iniquitous, philosophically sick and spiritually toxic Ayn Rand, whose deranged, narcissistic, sociopathic economic acolytes have now virtually destroyed this country. I could rant more vituperatively and still not express the depth of my loathing, but you get the idea.

So I would greet with utter glee any effective send-up of her psychopathological world view.

But this graphic novel, which really defies characterization, is so much more than that. Yes, it effectively deconstructs and demolishes Rand, but it does so through the eyes of one of her brainwashed devout apostles (Sara) in a dystopian future Randian Objectivist Republic (which, truthfully, might as well be tomorrow, because all of its excesses are merely the ones we can observe around us)... but a very human and sympathetic brainwashed apostle who comes finally to confront the fatal corruption of the Weltanschauung she's always devoutly embraced. It's the gradual and believable psychological meltdown and redemption of the escapee from a cult -- or one whose cult has dissolved around her. And it's gripping. But it's also a love story, a mordantly funny and intriguingly complex geopolitical mystery story... and it's page-turning throughout. There are all manner of "don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-them" clever, occult (sometimes multilingual) digs at corporations, government and the media. (One newscaster's name is "Mentira.") The author turns the right's penchant for bullying wordplay back on itself with a vengeance.

This is not the sort of thing you would expect of a comic book... er, graphic novel. I've read fewer than a dozen graphic novels, and the emphasis was always on the (sometimes wonderful) art, and a storyline barely limned by minimalist dialogue. This 205-page opus was the antithesis of that prevailing model. It's not for children or semiliterate adults. It's alternatingly wicked, funny, cerebral, romantic and... just thoroughly satisfying as a reductio ad absurdum of the pathology of Randian objectivist thinking. The minimalist, woodcut-style art of the talented illustrator enhances the emphasis on the storyline, and the dialogue is anything but minimalist. If you hate Rand, you'll love it. If you don't know who Rand is, you'll still love it. If you hate graphic novels, well, you'll still want to make this one exception. If you're a cognitively dualistic, confirmed acolyte of the Tea Party... well, you deserve what you get.