David Quimet (b.1965) is an American writer, illustrator and musician. His previous work includes the illustrations for the series of children’s books, Dare to Be Scared, written by Robert D. San Souci (1946 – 2014). I Go Quiet is the story of an unnamed young girl struggling to find her place in the world. It lies somewhere between a book of poetry and a graphic novel. Complementing the fragments of verse which tell the tale are the author’s own illustrations. A little brooding perhaps, but quite beautiful, their surreal quality and dark tone makes them reminiscent of Victorian fantasy paintings, such as those by William Blake (1757 – 1827) and Henry Fuseli (1741 – 1825).
In a confusing world where there is always noise and bustle the young girl of the story feels invisible. As yet she is not prepared to fight to make herself heard. She explains:
“When I speak I’m not understood.
So I go quiet.”
When you’re shy, you’re nervous and twice as conscious about what the people around you are doing. She notes:
“When I walk into a room
I hear whispers.”
Social expectations are high in today’s world, but when you’re young it’s hard to know how to act and what to say:
“I don’t know how I am supposed to be.
How should I sound?
How should I look?
When it’s my turn to speak
I go quiet.”
It is through the power of books and her creative imagination that the young girl eventually finds her voice.
“From time to time I imagine where I’d like to be.
Some days I shed my black velvet cape and I soar like a shiny raven.”
Through her reading she comes to understand that she is just like everybody else.
“I am not so different.
And I am not small.”
Reading brings her hope and a bright outlook for the future. She says:
“When I am heard,
I will build cities
with my words.
They will not be quiet.”
And when she is finally fully grown up, she predicts:
“Some day I will make a shimmering noise.”
It may only be forty eight pages in length and a little larger than A5 in size, but this book packs an emotional punch in every way. It’s lovely to hold, beautiful to look at, and the story within its covers is told in an utterly unique way.
Any Cop?: I Go Quiet is a charming addition to any bookshelf.