GRAPHIC NOVELS

Unrig: How To Fix Our Broken Democracy

World Citizen: First Second. Jul. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781250295309. $28.99. Rated: Teen+. NF
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Can America’s societal salvation be accomplished through political means? Newman (president, cofounder, MapLight) shouts an emphatic yes, and with this work programmatically lays out a multipoint plan for transparency and reforms in campaign finances, electoral processes, and congressional business, emphasizing the importance of increasing citizen engagement in every aspect of the political machine. It’s a tricky prospect to illustrate this level of wonkiness, and Newman’s monologs sometimes overflow, reading uncannily like a nonprofit’s informational brochure (appropriate, since Newman is the founder of a political reform nonprofit ). But the explications of the forces fomenting political corruption—dark campaign money crushing candidates who don’t deal with lobbyists, wealth hoarders stealthily steering the Republican agenda to gut social services irrevocably, and the long nationwide legacy of gerrymandering that leads to a government that’s anything but representative—are intense, engaging, and a real call to action. O’Connor’s (Journey into Mohawk Country) illustrations bring the big bads to life, but can’t quite make the featured democracy success stories feel like a victory against those foes.
VERDICT An informative and surprisingly optimistic primer on American democracy’s challenges and how to combat them, communicated with a dry, deliberate seriousness that may not spark the interest of every reader. [Previewed in Douglas Rednour’s “Picture This,” LJ 6/20.]

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