If you could really “get to know someone”, whom would you choose? Taking a real world case study as inspiration, this graphic novel follows an innocently curious fifth grader as she attempts to understand what’s really going on in the minds of the people around her.
Everyday life for fifth-grader Angel revolves around classes, classes, and more classes. In addition to regular schooling and endless piles of homework, she also attends after-school cram courses, art classes, and even piano lessons. As if that weren’t enough, she just received a vexing new assignment in art class. The teacher instructed the class to “get to know someone” as part of their semester project. But what does it mean to really know someone?
Having no idea where to begin, Angel turns to her mother, whose answer is, “Don’t take it so seriously. Just make it up!” Having no other options, Angel begins observing the people closest to her: her friend at school, her cousins from the countryside (a difficult older boy, and a clingy girl), the talkative girl in her art class, and the competent and confident daughter of her mother’s coworker who attends an international school, among others.
Angel looks up to all of these people in one way or another, but as she “gets to know them”, she realizes that each of them also has their own private troubles. With the end of the semester rapidly approaching, Angel has to hurry up and choose someone to be the subject of her project. But whom should she choose?
Taking her inspiration from a real world case study described in the work of sociologist Lan Pei-Chia, artist/writer Pam Pam Liu approaches parent-child relationships from a perspective of childlike innocence, depicting the family dynamics of each child in the story with gentle humor and an eye for life-like detail. The graphic novel’s swift pacing and light touch nonetheless reveals startling depths. As she delves past the surface appearance of family life, Angel not only discovers the private conflicts and doubts of those around her, she also matures in the process, leading to a surprising and heartwarming conclusion that will resonate with readers long after the story ends.