Bendy: The Illusion of Living

AFK. Feb. 2021. 256p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781338715880.
Gr 8 Up–Joey Drew, who is white, the founder of Joey Drew Studios, and the creator of Bendy, Alice, Boris, and other cartoon characters, tells his story in this fictionalized memoir. Starting with his childhood growing up as the son of a shoemaker and watching the world go by through the frame of the shop window, the book details his engineering experiences during World War I, how he recruited various members of his creative team, and the evolution of his creative philosophy, which he calls “The Illusion of Living.” While this is an interesting read, fans of the author’s Dreams Come to Life—the first novel tie-in to the video game Bendy and the Ink Machine and an introduction to Joey Drew—will be disappointed if they grab this expecting it to be a continuation of that volume. Instead, Kress goes deep into Joey’s head and explores both his creativity and his aggrandized sense of self-worth. This title will be of interest only to those who are truly immersed in the world of Joey Drew Studios, with their curiosity extending beyond the game. Anyone expecting things to get creepy at some point will be dissatisfied with this story.
VERDICT Skip unless you have multiple readers who are obsessed with all things Joey Drew.

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