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Kampung Boy: 09/29/09

Kampung Boy (Budak Kampung) is an autobiography in the form of a graphic novel. It covers Lat's childhood in the 1950s and 1960s in a village in the Kinta Valley. It starts with his birth and ends with his father riding with him to the boarding school as a teen.

I found this book tucked between a number of manga series at my local library. I was drawn in by the title and the publisher / importer: :01 (same publisher as Life Sucks). I flipped through the book, liked the art style and found the first few pages captivating.

Stylistically Kampung Boy reminds me most of Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosa (another :01 import). There's a similarity with the jutting jaws, wiggly legs and the basic energy of all the characters (especially the children). What's thankfully missing from Kampung Boy is the underlying tragedy of Three Shadows.

Besides being a fun coming of age story, Kampung Boy was educational for me. I went into the book knowing next to nothing about Malaysia. I came away with a better feeling for some of the country's culture and a desire to learn more.

The sequel to Kampung Boy is called Town Boy. I hope to find a copy to read.

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