Days of the Bagnold Summer by Joff Winterheart
Days of the Bagnold Summer is a short book – 80 pages, and only a few panels per page – but it’s never slight. Sue and Daniel Bagnold are a mother and son who are stuck together for the summer holidays after Daniel’s father, who Daniel was supposed to spend the holidays with in Florida, cancels the trip. Daniel is a typical heavy metal fan – long hair, dark clothes – and typically teenage. Sue sees the summer as a chance to buy him shoes for an upcoming wedding, but also to connect with him, regarding his teenage years as difficult and not the stereotypical ‘best days of your life’.
The reasons Sue understands this so much are gradually - but never blatantly - revealed in flashbacks as she thinks back to her own teen experiences. Meanwhile, Daniel’s current experiences have a true and awkward ring to them, with a friend, KY, who he has a tricky relationship with, and a local band he can’t quite bring himself to join. This is an extremely well observed book, with Winterheart suggesting with subtle details where others would shout. It is short, and it’s slightly too indebted to Posy Simmonds (it’s a first book), but it’s surprisingly haunting at that. [David Agnew]