This book illustrates the power of the graphic novel. Words are few, but their sparsity increases their impact, and the illustrations carry the story easily. To tell this story in normal memoir form would destroy much of its power. Because the author is telling the story of his childhood, prose narrative would take away the sense of his innocence at the time and cause him to constantly say "What I didn't know but now realize or later found out is..." which is a messy way to tell a story. When we are children, we don't see or fully understand a large portion of the world. The graphic novel format here allows us to see from the child's perspective as well as our own.
This book is shocking and heart-breaking, not for the faint of heart. It reads very quickly, though, and would be a good bet for a reluctant reader with a strong constitution. It does contain medical imagery that is sometimes graphic and always conveys a sense of violence.
Recommend to: Age 14+, reluctant reader
Don't recommend to: The highly sensitive, my mother