By Daniel Clowes
Daniel Clowes’ ‘Patience’ begins with the title character dead in 2012 and her fiancé, Jack, obsessed with finding her killer. In 2029, Jack obtains the ability to travel back in time, and is determined to save the woman he loves.
This may sound like your typical “woman in refrigerator” story (that term refers to the idea of killing a female character for the growth/motivation of the male character). However, ‘Patience’ defies that characterization. Through time jumps, we learn about the woman who was Patience- a bright girl who had to drop out of college for financial reasons, was abused by people in her life, and had secrets and fears about impending motherhood. What starts out as a time-traveling murder mystery ends as a great portrait of a complicated young woman.
This is not to say that Jack is not also interesting. Daniel Clowes always creates great characters, so this isn’t surprising. Initially falsely accused, Jack is bitter by 2029. His character has an almost dangerous edge which, combined with his love for Patience, makes for a compelling protagonist.
Characters aside, love is what is at the center of Patience. I know, it sounds trite, but for a book with a grim beginning, it has a fairly optimistic outlook. Despite the past, the two main characters are ultimately searching for a better future- be it the unknown future of parenthood and marriage, or the future you dreamed of and are willing to reset the past for. Don’t be afraid of the comic medium or the sci-fi content- this book is a fresh take on the idea of an “everlasting love.”
Find Patience here.
Reviewed by BiblioMecha