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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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Review: Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"

Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery": The Authorized Graphic Adaptation - Miles Hyman

As I near the end of my year-long exploration of graphic novels, I come across my first adaptation: Shirley Jackson's “The Lottery” by Miles Hyman. It was without intention that I happened to read The Lottery and Other Stories immediately preceding this graphic retelling. Hyman's book was on my to-read list when, on a whim, I picked up Jackson's collection and began reading. I'd read Jackson's most famous story, “The Lottery,” a couple times in undergrad, but I was happy to have the refresher in mind as I tackled this adaptation.

As I suspected, it's not easy to take a classic, well-known work and make it into anything special by attaching pictures to it. There's nothing exciting or new here. It's Jackson's story, made visual. I understand that maybe the goal is to reach a new audience, a crowd that would be more likely to read Hyman's adaptation, but it's not like Jackson's short story is difficult to read. Whatever.

I might have been more annoyed by this idea had Hyman himself not been the grandson of Shirley Jackson. I might also be annoyed had it seemed Hyman was trying to establish himself by using his grandmother's name, but it seems he is already well established. And so, I really have nothing to be annoyed about. This is a fine rendition of “The Lottery,” it keeps the story simple as it was meant to be. Although most of the illustrations aren't particularly grand, there's something to be said about the colors and angles that effectively capture the mood of the story.