Grace

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Grace: Based on the Jeff Buckley Story is exactly what it sounds like, a graphic novel telling of the story of singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley who tragically drowned after releasing his first album, Grace, which has gone on to be beloved the world over.

The book follows Buckey’s life very closely, opening with his invitation to play at the tribute concert for his father Tim, who he never knew. This event kickstarts Buckley’s career and, with dizzying rapidity, he has a record contract, forthcoming album, and impending tour.

Forced to throw a band together quickly, he recruits outsiders whose heart he values over experience or technical skill. The group is in a tiny van for months on end while touring, resulting in some emotional fractures in an otherwise close friendship.

Buckley’s lyrics are interspersed through the pages, as we witness the events which inspired them. A parallel story runs alongside Buckley’s. This story belongs to Henry Fisher, a young fan working in a donut store with a girl he wishes he had the confidence to ask on a date. Fisher is inspired when his friend makes him listen to her copy of Grace and he begins recording his own music.

Encountering Buckley after a live show, Fisher is eventually given the push he needs to take steps to begin his own career. Naturally, the story draws to a close with Buckley’s death when he drowned while swimming in Wolf River Harbor. The event is treated with respect, highlighting its tragedy without becoming vulturish.

Despite not counting myself as a Jeff Buckley fan (I own a copy of Grace but knew little about the man behind it), I fell in love with this story. The artwork is stunning and the blue and black color scheme reflect his painful life without seeming overly maudlin.

The pages in which Buckley plays Hallelujah at the Paris Olympia are some of the most beautifully drawn and stunningly impactful I have seen in years. The cover art is equally beautiful (although it did remind me strongly of Steve from season three of Stranger Things) giving Buckley an ethereal glow. This is a beautiful yet sad story that will appeal not only to fans of Jeff Buckley but to anyone with an interest in how music is made.

Rating: 7/10

Conclusion: Great for adult music fans but this one might be difficult reading for anyone not in good mental health.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this in exchange for my open and honest review

I am a fan of Jeff Buckley. I think anyone who has heard his haunting version of Leanord Cohen's 'Hallelujah' would be affected by it and be a fan. But Jeff Buckley was generally an enigma whose life was cut short. Even after reading this, he is still sort of an enigma. I learned a few new things: for instance, I had no idea who his dad was, or that he was actually a folk singer. I learned that he was uncomfortable with fame and how it was thrust upon him, first in comparison to his father and then further through his own well earned fame. Then poof, his life, his light was out like a light. Jeff Buckley still remains an enigma. Maybe that is how the author intended it. To show that to all, he was and always will be this great shining star that brought light into the sky for a brilliant moment then puffed out. It is really sad the way his life ended. 

Still, it felt very unsatisfying to me. 

Aside from the story the graphics are extremely well done. Kudos to Dizin and Reist. They used a light touch but conveyed a lot of information.
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The art and the story in this graphic novel are beautiful. It is a very basic biography, but also tells enough of the story for someone like me that knew nothing about Jeff Buckley before reading this.

Thank you NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to First Second for the advance ARC of this amazing book in exchange for honest feedback.

This book is absolutely gorgeous. I was a pretty casual fan of Jeff Buckley's before reading the book, and knew a little bit of his story, but this gives so much insight into his character and life that I couldn't help but dive into his full catalog more thoroughly. 

I love the choice to use two different artists! The two different styles allow for additional depth and richness of storytelling. I'd absolutely recommend this to anyone, whether or not they're familiar with Jeff Buckley's music.
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For anyone who loves Jeff Buckley, this graphic novel is a must. I didn’t know much about him before, and I still enjoyed the story very much. The structure and the images are beautiful, and I found the story entertaining. It was just perfect.
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I was so excited when I came across this, because I am a big fan of Jeff Buckley’s music and just him in general! Therefore, I already knew some details about his life, but was eager to learn more. Jeff’s story will probably appeal to a lot of people though, because he was immensely talented and died far too young. There seems to be some sort of fascination with celebrities dying young, and especially just when they seem to be gaining back control of their lives, but there has always been something so surreal and hazy about Jeff’s death that I can understand people’s intrigue. People from Jeff’s life had input into Grace, such as his mother, and so I think that this is as honest an account of his life as we’re likely to get and I’m very grateful that they wanted to tell his story.

This graphic novel confirmed everything that I thought I knew about Jeff Buckley. He was a kind hearted soul that was desperately trying to find his voice through his music. We see him struggling with the comparison to his father, who had also been a well known singer, who Jeff only met once before Tim Buckley died at 28 years old, with Jeff even being invited to perform at a tribute concert. He is also dealing with trying to take his music further than playing to his and his girlfriend’s cat, Spinach, and get his voice heard. Then when his undeniable talent is finally realised, he has to battle record labels to make sure he keeps the integrity, originality and ownership of his music. Because his music was so much more than just music, it was him! There’s a beautiful line where someone remarks “He doesn’t sing the bloody songs, he becomes them” and I couldn’t agree more, he wasn’t just a songwriter, he was a storyteller. I’m just so glad that his pure passion and desire to make music, that he was proud of, was shown.

As we’re taken on a journey from 1991 to 1997 (Jeff’s death), I find it so fascinating to see the events that happened in his life and how they influenced particular songs of his. It was so great to read and it gave the songs such a deeper meaning! And I really enjoyed how the song lyrics were weaved into the artwork in order to make it explicitly clear, which songs stemmed from which experiences. I even found myself humming some of the songs as I figured out what influenced them, it was such a lovely experience!

The artwork in this was terrific, it favoured a muted and minimalistic colour palette, and I think it added to the story so beautifully, without overpowering it and it felt very fitting to Jeff’s laid back demeanour. It was brilliant in conveying Jeff’s emotions, especially when he’d experience euphoria through his music or even in more sombre times, when black ink heavily dominated the page, it was extremely powerful. I think that both the author and the illustrators did such a fantastic job telling Jeff’s story through a graphic novel. His music touched a lot of people and so I adored the inclusion of how he influenced one particular guy, it was very heart warming. There are some photographs in the back of the novel, of Jeff and those he was closest to, which was also a really nice touch! If it wasn’t obvious enough already, I enjoyed this tremendously and would most definitely recommend it!
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I couldn’t get into this one, I only read the first ten pages or so. Maybe it’s the subject matter, but as someone unfamiliar with the singer I didn’t much care to know his background. The story wasn’t interesting enough on its own for me to want to read it.
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For fans of Jeff Buckley, Grace is an essential read. This graphic novel details his early years getting started in the music business, leading to his meteoric rise to stardom and his eventual death. He was a fascinating guy filled with passion and so much drive that it left him in doubt about his future as a musician. I’ve been a fan of Buckley since college, making this a real treat to read. I suggest playing his album Grace in the background as you read through the final years of Buckley’s life.

Buckley’s story is an inspiring tale of musicianship. He was an artist who refused to compromise his artistic vision when many wanted his focus to be on selling records quickly. He took his time, wrote his songs, and the world came around to understanding his genius. I didn’t know a lot about his life and seeing those early details explains a lot about his music. It’s easy to forget his album Grace was only three years old when he died. He was still new to the scene and seeing his passion illustrated so vividly shows how much more he could have given to the world.

The art style combines multiple forms, switching between realism and a cartoon feel. At times, we get hyper-realistic full page panels that beautifully illustrate the strong emotions that controlled his life. The lack of color makes the focus on Buckley himself and not on the settings.

Overall, Grace is a wonderful tribute to an extremely talented musician. Take it as a guide to one of modern music’s lost talents and revel in a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to create genius.
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I've enjoyed Jeff Buckley's music for a long time and I knew he had died young but I didn't know many details. The main thing I would recommend for readers is to make sure you have the music handy, you'll really ache for it. The combination of his notebooks, the flashback, and the guy who was inspired by his music made for a really interesting way to unveil a life. Anyone interested in singer/songwriters, creativity, or depression would benefit from this intense look inside of an artist.
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Every time I turned the paged I was in awe of the beautiful illustrations and coloring.  I could feel Jeff's emotional highs and lows just by looking at the illustrations.  A book like Grace is not one I would normally pick up and read, but I could not put this story down.  I can't wait to get this book into the hands of my musically gifted students!
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I loved Tiffanie DeBartolo's How to Kill a Rockstar! I recommend it to everyone. I read Grace based on that book alone! The care the author pays to music and art is spectacular! 

Thank you Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.
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I didn't know much about  Jeff Buckley other than his tragic demise and the fact that he was an amazing musician, so this graphic novel was very much on point in delivering a compelling story. I really enjoyed getting to know more about this artist. And the artwork was beautiful.
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In telling the story of tragic musician Jeff Buckley in appropriately blue-tinged comic form, talented writer Tiffanie de Bartolo (much loved round these parts for her off-beat 90s romcom Dream for an Insomniac) glosses over some facts and handwaves others, but still gloriously evokes the spirit of her subject while also pondering the mercurial nature of musical genius. Buckley’s early relationship, given here as a casualty of his career, is well-drawn, as are the, well, drawings, with co-illustrators Pascal Dizin and Lisa Reist collaborating, and contrasting, with verve and skill. The story, as you might expect, is quite a tearjerker, though it does somehow manage to build suspense even when you know what has to happen in the end. Recommend reading with Buckley’s too-limited catalog on shuffle – you, too, might have the eerie experience of having “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” play just as it is being written…  – Rachel Hyland

4 1/2 stars.

This review will appear in Romantic Intentions Quarterly #5, out April 1, 2019.
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Grace: Based on the Jeff Buckley Story by Tiffanie DeBartolo is a 2019 First Second publication. 

I have never read a standard biography about Jeff Buckley, and I can’t claim to be a rabid fan. But, of course, I am very familiar of his haunting version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah”, and I knew he was the son of folk singer, Tim Buckley, and that Jeff died young in a freak accident. Beyond that, I couldn’t have told you much else. 

I do read my fair share of music memoirs and biographies, but this is the first one I have read in a Graphic Novel format. The story pretty much sticks to the basics, so for diehard fans the book may not cover much new territory. However, even if the story is familiar to you, the outstanding illustrations truly bring out an amazing amount of depth and emotion you most likely would not experience in a standard text only biography. 

The writing is a bit simplistic, but I’m thinking this book might be a learning tool as well, perhaps to entice YA readers as well as older fans. 

Jeff’s life was cut short, and he was always a bit of an enigma, so this book certainly will give readers a little more insight into his life and the artist behind the music. I enjoyed the experience of reading this book, and learning more about Jeff, and of course it has inspired me to revisit Jeff’s music, hearing it from a new perspective now. 
I recommend this one for anyone who loves music, biographies or Graphic Novels.
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So, I didn't know anything at all about Jeff Buckley before I picked this up - and that meant that the ending was a real surprise to me. There's a bit where Buckley has something of an onstage meltdown because his fans are demanding that he play the hits, while he wants to play from the new material he's been working on, and it's portrayed with gentle sympathy and humanity. This is a lovely biography and tribute, and the photographs included at the end are a nice touch. I can't say how successful it will be for superfans, but for me, it was a nice introduction.
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I read this without having any idea who the intended audience was and that may have colored my reading. As an adult who has been a fan of Jeff Buckley's for years, this really missed the mark for me. I tried to remind myself that I might be biased due to my love for the subject and entered with too-high expectations. For a YA audience who isn't as familiar, this might have been a great read and the art was really outstanding. I enjoyed that it was only blues and whites, but really had an almost musical flow to it. That was the defining characteristic of the book for me. 

I think the important part of the cover is where it says: "Based on the Jeff Buckley Story" as this should have tipped me off. It reads a lot like a biography, but it feels somehow incomplete. At the very least there are sections that feel very superficial and we don't dive deeply into Jeff relationships with some of the people in his life. I don't know how many creative liberties were taken with his story, but again, as an adult I felt like there were parts just missing that would have filled out the story. 

This isn't a bad read, but for me it was unsatisfying. I would still recommend this to our YA readers and see if it sparks their interest in one of my all time favorite singer/songwriters.
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Starting off with the positives, the graphics were awesome! I loved all the artwork, especially the ones that overlapped each other. 

But the story itself did not interest me much. I guess I was expecting something more... polished? And it felt as if everything was rushed. Half of the time, it took me a minute to realise that the characters have changed, and so has the place.

All in all, I loved the graphics, but I didn't care much for the story.
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The art is absolutely beautiful, equal parts artsy but still "show, not tell" in its efficiency. The writing was also wonderful by framing real life events through another narrative to convey the impact of Buckley's work and legacy. It also served to avoid the feel of typical graphic novel adaptations (here is the life story, the end). I avoided listening to music while reading this to let it stand on its own and ...now i must go do some heavy listening while ereexamining the more detailed pages of this book.
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Just didn't get into it. Ended up flipping through the last 50 pages. The art was pretty, the symbolism on point, but just didn't get anything from the story.
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This was an amazing book. I did not know all of these things about Jeff Buckley or his life story. I really enjoy reading biographies in graphic novel format. This book was so open and honest and touching - it made me cry and that is something I find very rare in books nowadays. The artwork was so beautiful. Altogether, a well rounded and well produced piece of art - one that I anticipate very much having read it in advance. I really look forward to buying this book.
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