Library Journal Review
When a 2003 suicide bombing targeted Tel Aviv blues bar Mike's Place and killed three people, filmmaker Baxter just happened to be making a documentary of the venue with Faudem's help. The tragedy was folded into their award-winning film, Blues by the Beach, and this graphic novel memorializes both bombing and film. Known as a haven for all nationalities beyond political or religious differences, Mike's Place reopened and even expanded afterward. Relationship turmoil, inner conflicts, and misfired projects are all incorporated into the account, along with terror and heroism, plus the misguided sacrificial intentions of the sympathetically depicted bombers. Shadmi's (In the Flesh) angular, restrained gray-scale drawings don't shy away from flying body parts or out-of-control emotions. VERDICT A fine exemplar of comics journalism, this true story conveys suicide bombing from the perspective of bystanders, victims, and bombers. Educators of midteens and up can use it in classrooms, while other readers can learn about the human effects of violence through the poignant drama.-M.C. © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
In 2003, American filmmaker Baxter traveled to Israel intending to make a political documentary, but instead he turned his camera on Mike's Place, a popular Tel Aviv bar and music venue that attracted an international clientele hoping to escape the tension and killings for a few hours. During filming on April 30, the bar was targeted by a suicide bomber, killing three and injuring countless others. This graphic adaptation of the 2004 documentary Blues by the Beach does an excellent job of transporting readers to a place where the religious and secular uneasily coexist, and terrorism and its resulting PTSD are simple facts of life. Although the dialogue-heavy storytelling can feel stiff and transcribed, the staff and regulars at Mike's Place are portrayed with complex emotions and motivations that resonate with authenticity. The black-and-white panels are small and shift focus frequently, lending a cinematic quality to the narration, but it's Shadmi's introspective wordless panels that resonate the most. A realistic glimpse into the all-too-common horrors of terrorism.--Hayes, Summer Copyright 2015 Booklist