Replay: Memoir of an Uprooted Family

First Second. Mar. 2024. 320p. Tr $29.99. ISBN 9781250873750.
Gr 9 Up–The creator of the Prince of Persia video game crafts an intergenerational memoir in graphic novel format. Mechner’s inspiration for this book is his grandfather, who took the time to write his own memoir, and encouraged his descendants to do the same. Readers follow along in the present day as adult Jordan develops a new video game, raises his two kids, and goes through a breakup. We learn about Jordan’s grandfather, Adolf, who lived through and survived WWII as a Jewish man in Europe. Jordan shares his own father’s, Franz, backstory which features Jordan’s childhood (including how he developed Prince of Persia in the 1980s). Organized into eight chapters and ending with an epilogue, the story jumps around among decades but is easy to follow. The characters are well developed, and readers will get to know the three subjects intimately. Drawn with black ink pen and brush on A4 paper, the use of color is strikingly intentional and delineates the setting. For example, red hues indicate his grandfather’s story during WWII, blue hues indicate his father’s story and Jordan’s childhood, while yellow hues indicate present day. The font was created from Mechner’s handwriting.
VERDICT A unique book for the right reader; perhaps teen fans of Mechner’s work, those interested in video game development, and readers looking for a new take on WWII sagas.

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