I love graphic novels. I am a very visual person. I take things in much better through the medium of visuals- which is why I love cinema (and comics too!)
Graphic novels are one of my favorite kinds of books to read. The visual representations allow me to see the characters’ facial expressions, body language, and movement. Visuals gives me context and helps me see what the writer to trying to convey. It helps me have the correct frame of reference.
Little Victories is one such graphic novel. Written by Yvon Roy, the subtitle of the novel is Autism Through a Father’s Eyes, and this is why I picked up this book. Very early on in my psychotherapy career, I happened to take on a young client who was diagnosed with autism, on a milder level. I worked with my supervisor on this young boy, before we had to end therpay as the parents were able to take him abroad to enroll him at a school for autistic children. (Update: you will be happy to know he’s progressed so much at his new school and the parents are super pleased with him).
I can tell you that it was indeed a challenge to work with autistic children. One needs a special set of skills and understanding and lots of patience and empathy to truly understand the mindset of an autistic child.
Roy perfectly shares his experience in his graphic novel. We start off with Yvon and his wife Chloe enjoying the delight of havaing a baby boy, Oliver. This happiness is shortlived when both parents find out Oliver is autistic. The parents separate, and Yvon is left on his own to raise Oliver as a single struggling father.
Yvon truly struggles. Although he has help from the school and the social services, he attempts to understand his son. The father is frustrated, irritated and loses patience, but quickly understands, through the help of his supportive friend Mark, that he needs to step up and take on a proactive role as a father. In one of the highlight of the novel, we see Mark understanding how high the walls are around his son, and he makes an attempt to climb over those walls in order to be there for his son.
As they grow up together, Yvon and Oliver build on their father-son relationship. There are sweet moments when Yvon personalises his own methods of working with autism, so much so, the social services worker is surprised to know how things are working out for Oliver. Chloe, the mother, plays a supportive role as well, and the parents are on the same page as far as Oliver is concerned.
While there is growth, there is also frustration and anger. There are moments when Yvon is struggling to help his son learn maths. But Yvon knows better; he knows he needs to be patient and understanding. He needs to show empathy and love. He needs not to scream to at Oliver.
I have to be honest, there are moments in the novel where I had my hair stand up. I had goosebumps. I don’t know anyone personally who is autistic, but I do know that with a lot of empathy and understanding, we can certainly be a huge part of our children’s lived just by being a role model.
Ultimately, what Yvon really wants to say that in life, it’s the little victories that matter. It’s not about reaching at the end of the race line. It’s about working on each day one at a time. It’s about creating little miracles. It’s about celebrating these little victories. As can be seen in the above page, the father’s head it literally a time bomb ready to explode, but what does he do? He takes his son to the playground and enjoys the moment with him. “You have to help them, not push them,” says Yvon.
Little Victories is a perfect graphic novel for those who want to get into the mind of a parent struggling to raise autistic children. It will show you how important it is to have a bond with your children. It will show you the importance of patience and love.
Little Victories is an award winning graphich novel, that has gained much traction. If you love graphic novels with a heartwarming real life story, then go for Little Victories. It will instill hope, empathy and love within you and change your mindset into how we view children with autism.