Booklist, June 1, 2007
In this structurally complicated memoir, Hornschemeier portrays the last evening of a visit with his parents in Ohio that, casual in itself, carries the tensions of his ambitions and of meeting, when he returns to Chicago, longtime correspondent-fan Juliane. “Paul and the Magic Pencil,” a comics story resembling Jay Ward’s Peabody and Sherman cartoons, which Hornschemeier is drafting seemingly as an exercise in self-encouragement, frames the main action, a nighttime walk with his father. The walk in turn encompasses Paul’s mental flashbacks to “Paul and the Magic Pencil,” a confrontation with a bigger boy when he was about sixth-grade age, the story behind the scar on the neck of a convenience-store clerk, and a comic-book account of the paradoxes of Zeno. The visit is the most realistically rendered narrative element, and each flashback is differently styled in figuration and coloration. If there is an educible point to this calm slice of common life, it is that memory, like arithmetical logic in Zeno’s paradoxes, dissolves time. The artist, however, proves more impressive than the philosopher.
Grade 8 +