Cover Image: Advocate


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Member Reviews

A very detailed and bravely deep autobiography/memoir with excellent art-work and rich story-line. We follow the life and its struggles of a young Asian American lawyer who devotes his career in enviromental NGO's and providing to the communities.
The passion of the author for community service and work is admirable.
The novel touches so many topics that at some point losses conhesion, i thought it would be more about environmentalism.
A solid effort overall. Not groundbreaking though..

Thanks Netgalley and Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press for the ARC

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"Advocate" is a compelling graphic memoir by Eddie Ahn, an environmental justice lawyer and activist based in San Francisco. The memoir chronicles Eddie's journey from his upbringing in Texas as the child of Korean immigrants to his pivotal role in the fight for environmental justice. Balancing his family's high expectations with his passion for community service, Eddie narrates his transition from a lucrative legal career to the nonprofit sector.

The memoir delves into Eddie's personal and professional challenges, including dealing with the aftermath of Californian wildfires, addressing economic inequality, and navigating racial prejudice. His story is a poignant exploration of the complexities of fulfilling familial duties while pursuing a career rooted in advocacy and activism. Eddie's narrative is enriched with humorous anecdotes, victories, and moments of hope, illustrating the profound impact of choosing a life of service over material success.

"Advocate" is a beautifully illustrated and deeply moving memoir that combines personal storytelling with broader social and environmental issues. Eddie Ahn's journey is both inspiring and relatable, capturing the essence of what it means to fight for justice and community in the face of systemic challenges.

The graphic novel format is particularly effective in conveying the emotional depth and complexity of Eddie's experiences. The illustrations are vibrant and expressive, bringing to life the various stages of his journey and the people he encounters along the way. The use of color and design enhances the narrative, making it an engaging read for a wide audience.

Eddie's story is a powerful reminder of the importance of community service and the impact one individual can have on the world. His struggles with familial expectations and professional pressures are universally relatable, making this memoir not just a story about environmental justice but also about personal growth and resilience.

- Immigration and Identity:
- Environmental Justice
- Activism and Advocacy
- Family Dynamics
- Personal Growth

"Advocate" is a must-read for anyone interested in environmental justice, social activism, or personal memoirs that tackle significant issues with grace and humor. Eddie Ahn's story is a testament to the power of perseverance and the importance of fighting for what is right, even when it comes at a personal cost. This graphic memoir is not only a tribute to Eddie's remarkable journey but also an inspiration for others to find their path and make a difference in their communities.

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Advocate was a great read! I loved the illustrations and the text was easy to read. I loved the setting as well.

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On its face, this graphic novel has a couple things I really like: autobiographies, great art, use of colorwork to set a scene (timeline mostly in this case), detailed and loving illustrations of places I'm very familiar with (I live in Sacramento and have spent a lot of time in the Bay Area including a year of higher education!). But the content...? It didn't grab me, and while it was educational it was maybe too dry and too 'here are events that happened." Even events I personally lived though (C19 closures, the California wildfires and how orange our skies were... those should have hit harder to me).

I really wanted to like this and the art was really good but it was a strange way to tell a life's story and not a lot of meaningful retrospection or self-discovery.

Thank you to NetGalley and Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press | Ten Speed Graphic for the eARC in exchange for review.

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3 Stars - Advocate tells the story of Eddie Ahn's life from his grandfather's stories from before and after the Korean war as Eddie grapples with the parallels in his own life; his father's experience of running to their family liquor store and dealing with the expectations he places on his son; and Eddie's own career path to being a leader in the non-profit space.

- chapters felt disorganized and disjointed at times
- like other critics, would have enjoyed more if it had more focus on one topic as opposed to jumping all over the place and not really having a concrete plot
- consequently, the story felt incomplete

- the art - though as other graphic novels that I've read via ebook wish I had a hardcopy to appreciate the art more tangibly
- use of color to indicate the time/place in the author's life was really unique!
- helped me think about environmental and community advocacy beyond the usual; gave me a first-hand window into the work-life of a nonprofit worker

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Disclaimer: I came for the content but have difficulty assimilating Graphic presentations. Oh yeah, and then there's the inability to utilize TTS. That being said, the use of color to differentiate content areas is brilliant.
The author has impressive talents and is able to use the past to improve the future of our planet. The rest of you need to explore and learn from this book, but the few of us hope that a conventional TTS format will become available soon!
I requested and received a free temporary EARC on Adobe Digital Editions from Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press | Ten Speed Graphic via NetGalley. Thanks for the opportunity!
#AsianAmerican #KoreanAmerican #Lawyer #EnvironmentalSustainability #GraphicNonFiction #memoir #Californian

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I like graphic memoirs. It's a fun way to delve into a person's history and to experience it not just in words, but in the visual style of the storyteller as well. However, some stories are less compelling in this format. For one, the flow of this one felt jerky. Policy and advocacy work do not make for very compelling visuals. Unfortunately, I didn't finish this with much more than a sense of tedium.

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A nice memoir with beautiful illustrations

Thank you NetGalley and Ten Speed Graphic for the opportunity to read this ARC.

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I may be in the minority of readers who will pick up this book as I am not an avid reader of comics and graphic novels. I came across Ahn’s book having seen it featured in a local news article as well as having come from a personal recommendation. I was not prepared to love this as much as I did.

This book is best read at a leisurely pace, appreciating the craftsmanship and nostalgia of each painstakingly hand drawn panel. Leisurely also because if you quickly gloss over the panels, you will likely miss the subtlety of this book’s layered meanings and relevant questions – about the immigrant experience, familial duty, the realities of nonprofit work, how one defines success, etc. - but also, in a unique take on the immigrant experience, that of public service and giving back. For as much as Ahn references his parents’ measurement of success in financial metrics, we realize that perhaps one of the ultimate gifts Ahn could have given his parents was to live by example and to teach others the values they taught him; generosity of spirit and, my favorite, never giving in to cynicism. This message of being generous and serving community could have easily been written (and/or construed) in a patronizing manner, but in many instances throughout the chapters, Ahn effectively avoids by taking the time to lovingly depict those seemingly mundane and unglamourous tasks running a nonprofit entails. It’s this “quiet grit” Ahn endures and that revealed itself over the span of the book that I appreciated only after I had finished the book.

There were several vignettes that stood out for me in story and in its art, some that even brought me to tears - the scene talking about his parents’ lofty ambitions analogously paired with a beautiful drawing of his father’s trip in a hot air balloon going up, up, up; another scene where he reverently memorializes his mentor, Dr. Espanola Jackson, and her teaching about getting others to “pick up the sword”; or another page with panels depicting the solemnity of frontline workers picking up the pieces after the January 6 Capitol attack. There is a depth of humanity within these chapters that I think will resonate with many Asian Americans and folks trying to parse out their own meanings of self-value and success. But I also think many will find that these deeply relational stories have the ability to transcend generational and cultural differences.

Tightly written prose along with gorgeous hand-drawn and color-washed panels, this book ADVOCATES for more humanity and less cynicism!

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I'm not 100% who this book would impact the most, but unfortunately I don't think that it's me. With saying that, it's by no means a bad book, either in the art or the content.

Starting with the art. I enjoy the realism in the drawings. I know for a lot of non fiction comics that realistic art is common, but this one I feel captured a lot, and was very detailed. There was no point where I couldn't recognize someone or was unsure of the setting. I was a little bit confused by the colouring of the scenes. I understand that the colour changes represent different chapters and different time periods, which is neat, but some of them made me a bit confused and I take more time to figure it all out.

Content wise, it's nice to see someone who's not out for profit. I think people like Eddie are extremely important to the community and their stories are also very important. You can see that this man has done a lot of good in his life. I feel like there was a little bit too much focus on other things that happened in his life though that drew away from what I thought the book was about. It was a little jumpy, although most of them felt connected to what was being talked about.

Overall, I'm not exactly sure what the main focus was, and maybe that was the point, who knows. It was good, just took a bit to get through.

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✨ Review ✨ Advocate: A Graphic Memoir of Family, Community, and the Fight for Environmental Justice by Eddie Ahn

Thanks to Ten Speed Graphic and #netgalley for the gifted advanced copy/ies of this book!

This graphic novel traces Eddie's life from his childhood through going to law school and working in nonprofit environmental advocacy in the Bay Area. My interest in the book came through my interest in the history of art and activism in the Bay Area, and so I found these glimpses especially interesting.

I loved the use of color to denote different times/places, and the art style was enjoyable. In general, I'm not sure I felt fully engaged all the time. Another review mentioned that the audience of the book felt a little unclear, and I think this also contributed to my shifting interest.

Overall, I enjoyed it but I needed a little more to keep my full attention.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3.5)
Genre: adult graphic memoir
Setting: mostly San Francisco / Bay Area
Pub Date: 16 Apr 2024

Read this if you like:
⭕️ non profit educational and environmental work
⭕️ memoirs in graphic form
⭕️ Bay Area life

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A perfect example that an interesting life does not lead to an interesting book, though it left me inspired when it came to social justice work within the Bay Area. Though the art is strong in its layout and fluidity, there are moments where there is much more telling than showing. Where emotions should ring a lot more truer and stronger, it ends up feeling like a Ted Talk intro that goes on for too long and lacks grounding for readers as most panels feel like background fluff. I wish there were more scenes between Eddie and his mother and the emotions there with his grandfather’ letters. But Eddie merely scrapes the surface, his focus stuck on telling than collaging it all in a way that feels like a story than basic personal background.

I’m excited to see more of Eddie’s art as I think there’s a lot to share. So much good to share. A lot of promise only the future knows.

*Eddie, if you’re reading this, I recommend you read How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee and an Andrea Long Chu piece, as well as this podcast in how to construct convincing voice that holds.

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I’m going to need all graphic memoirs to be color coded from now on. I loved seeing the selfless work the author has done, from working with kids to delivering meals. I never really thought about what exactly an environmental justice attorney does, or what goes into running a nonprofit organization. The author also discussed family obligations and expectations, and all the racism and microaggressions he and his family faced, especially during COVID.

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I enjoyed reading this inspiring graphic novel filled with nostalgia and heartwarming memories but the tone was a bit too dry for me. The drawings were good and dynamic while the narrative fell flat.

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I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Advocate by Eddie Ahn is a graphic novel memoir from a nonprofit environmental and community activist. Eddie's family ran a liquor store in Texas after moving from South, instilling values of small kindnesses while also pressuring him to pursue the idea of children doing much better than their parents.

We start off learning about Eddie Ahn’s family history before and during the Korean War, including his grandfather studying in Seoul, far from his hometown of Kaesong. When the war broke out, this created a barrier to Ahn’s grandfather not only returning home but of ever seeing his family again.

We follow Eddie as he works at local schools to help empower his community in California to going to law school to working for and heading a nonprofit to working on a commission. He spends page time introducing us to individuals in his office, young and old, to help give faces to those who are also working towards the same goals of everyone having better lives as well as explaining how different programs work and highlighting positive experiences of community.

The use of color helps set the scene, with different eras represented by different colors: fwarmer hues often used for moments in childhood while the panels regarding Dr. Espanola Jackson, an activist Eddie worked with, are in purple, her favorite color. Eddie's time working in local schools are in green, the color of growth and nature, sharpening the duality of the work towards community and environmentalism being two sides of the same coin.

The graphic novel doesn't shy away from the realities of working at a nonprofit, from pinching pennies to difficulties in explaining your career to family to cost vs time for every decision. It shows not only Eddie’s devotion to his cause but also to show anyone who is considering nonprofit work what they might expect, even if they are a lawyer and in charge. It's really important to peel back those curtains while also uplifting the people in our community who do the work to make it better. Eddie does a wonderful job of doing so, never once feeling sorry for himself and instead conveying that he is happy in his choices even if they don't mean a bank account flush with cash or a shiny new car.

Content warning for brief depictions of racism

I would recommend this to readers looking for memoirs in graphic novel form, aspiring environmental and community activists, and fans of showcasing what graphic novels can do.

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I’d never heard of Eddy Ahn before reading this. What an interesting story that transitions well between timelines in his life emphasizing work, family, and friends. He includes what it’s like to be an Asian American person living in todays society but also how that relates and doesn’t relate to his non profit work. Illustrations are also amazing!

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I wish I liked this book better, but there's no real hook to get me interested in Eddie's story. The art is fine and the use of color to distinguish time periods is a nice touch.

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Eddie Ahn's parents immigrated to the U.S. from Korea. Eddie himself moved to San Francisco fro Texas for college and decided to stay. He was a community activist before going to law school and starting a non profit. He's also a very skilled artist. I loved the artwork and coloring. The story though wasn't all that interesting and could have been edited down some. I'm a big admirer about what he's doing though. He's relentless, putting in countless hours to help those that he can.

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This was such an interesting story about someone's experience with the system, America, and their family

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However, I found the narrative to be somewhat disorganized. It jumped around quite a bit, with flashbacks popping up seemingly at random intervals, often introducing information that didn't seem to fit seamlessly. I understand that organizing one's life story for an audience you've never met can be challenging, and unfortunately, I didn't feel it was executed effectively here. There were moments where I found myself feeling bored and distracted, which feels a bit harsh to say considering the author's significant contributions to bettering the world. While I don't doubt the author's story is interesting, the delivery felt a bit scattered for my taste. Nonetheless, I appreciate that this story—and the person sharing it—is out there making a positive impact.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book. My opinions are solely my own.

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