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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our house, in the middle of the street
The book follows the lives of the 6 inhabitants of a nondescript, old Victorian house on a place called Rottin Road. One is a cosmetics saleswoman who's recently moved into town, another is an odd fellow who touches up photos of models, one is a diet consultant, one is a man who only loves women with disease or disfigurement, one is a homebody, and one is a hedonist...
Published on 14 Jan. 2012 by Sam Quixote

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars It's not a book that I enjoyed despite wanting to
It's not a book that I enjoyed despite wanting to, alongside an enthusiastic recommendation.
I felt that the characters themselves were there more for shock value than for any other purpose, with very little done to develop them. Some characters feel entirely superfluous as they play little to no role for more than a few pages and then disappear without ever being...
Published 3 days ago by Bethany


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our house, in the middle of the street, 14 Jan. 2012
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The House that Groaned (Paperback)
The book follows the lives of the 6 inhabitants of a nondescript, old Victorian house on a place called Rottin Road. One is a cosmetics saleswoman who's recently moved into town, another is an odd fellow who touches up photos of models, one is a diet consultant, one is a man who only loves women with disease or disfigurement, one is a homebody, and one is a hedonist. Their lives intertwine and the reader slowly gets to know each of the characters' strange pasts and how they became the people they are today.

Karrie Fransman's debut comic book is an oddball story that starts slow and builds gradually to a rollicking pace, completely enrapturing the reader into its fantastic story. I thought each character was well written and completely fascinating. What you quickly realise when you read it is that no-one is as they seem and the flashbacks to the characters' pasts shine light on new elements to their person that completely change the way you view them.

Fransman draws the characters as kind of bizarrely warped humans with doll/marionette-like faces, all circles, but she is still able to convey expressions and emotions through these faces while retaining a unique look to other comics out there. I particularly liked how she drew the old lady at the top floor who stayed in all day - she's drawn as a literal homebody where her body is moulded into the furniture she's standing next to/sitting on at that moment.

"The House That Groaned" is an original, well written, and completely enrapturing read that deserves a wide audience. I loved it and highly recommend anyone who enjoys contemporary comics to seek it out.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy Cunning, 14 Jan. 2012
By 
Larry Ger - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The House that Groaned (Paperback)
This work left me amused, disgusted and entranced - exactly what you'd want from a contemporay graphic novel.
I have a penchant for dark humour so I loved the various crazy characters. They all come with a delectibly twisted personality tick. Although morbid and morose the darkness is tempered with refreshingly light humour.

Its not only the written narrative that impresses, but the visual artwork is a delight. The angles, detail and characterisation in the drawings are entertaining, humorous and clever in their own right.
Of all the crazy characters, the main protagonist - the house - is brilliantly narrated through drawing and story throughout.

The story is absurd and surreal. Yet its not too far off from a cynic's view of the murky underworld of the London sublet.
That in itself is what made it such a relevent piece too.

I highly recommend this if you care for contempory, funny,zany, intelligent narrative in any which way or form.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fanstastic read!, 29 Jan. 2012
This review is from: The House that Groaned (Paperback)
I was drawn to this superb graphic novel by the cover. That alone should make anybody pick up the cover and at least flip through the pages. And the colour. The shades of blue are really appealing. I'm not going to bleat on but I couldn't put this awesome story down 'til I was done. I used to love Tales of The Unexpected as a child and this goes down that road... and further... much further! Buy, like, recommend!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was surprised, 15 July 2012
By 
Ms. Madeleine B. Burrows (York, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The House that Groaned (Paperback)
An illustration student, and an advid fan of graphic novels, I got given this book for my (20th) birthday. My mother was a little hesitant; she had ordered the book off Amazon after reading very positive Guardian reviews (graphic novel of the year), totally ignorant of any sexual content. After she got the book, however, and had a casual flick through (her degree was in fine art, so she's also quite interested in graphic artwork) she came across a couple of scenes and, although she's not prude, was not prepared for it, so it caught her unaware. However, as I am now 20, she saw sense, and gave it to me anyway.

So let's be clear, this book IS for a mature audience, of course, the majority of well rounded culturally educated people do know that graphic novels can be very graphic, but there are some people, slightly less gifted in the upstairs department, who will think: Graphic novels= cartoons= must be for children! I say this loosely after being annoyed at some reviews of Pan's Labyrinth... That, however, is a different rant, I will not diverge any further.

I started off with a mild reluctance, half expecting a watered down version of 50 shades of grey; I'm happy to say that this was ignorance on my part. The artwork is beautiful. Fransman's style is truly unique, and it drew me in from page one. The line art is clean, without appearing lifeless, and the character designs are superb. I love the way she manipulates body shapes, without making them seem unnatural. There are many other things that I could say about it, but this is not an art essay.

The plot is a bit deeper than I thought it would be. It is structured in such a way that you learn little bits about all of the characters, shocking little facts that you would have never guessed upon first encountering them in the book. All this contributes to an even less predictable ending. It kept me entertained, and I finished the book in 2 sittings (only because I was interrupted when I first picked it up).

To conclude- yes, the book is morbid; yes, the book is crude; yes, it has adult content, but for all the right reasons. If you're not mature enough, or you simply don't have the correct mind set to deal with any of these things, then don't buy this book- you won't like it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Twisted graphic novel, 21 Aug. 2012
By 
Eleanor (Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The House that Groaned (Paperback)
141 Rottin Road is a Victorian townhouse which has been converted into six flats. In "The House that Groaned" we follow the residents of these flats (for the most part grotesques, living bizarre and often lonely lives), as Fransman flits from room to room and life to life, weaving the past and present into a satisfying whole.

I can imagine this book offending some people as the storylines are pretty twisted, featuring, for example, a man who is sexually attracted to, and preys on, diseased and disfigured women and literal orgies of overeating. Fransman's humour and brio, however, make this a very enjoyable read and I frequently found myself breaking out into shocked laughter. I think Fransman shows a real affection for her damaged characters which is transmitted to the reader.

"The House that Groaned" is an attractive book, with nice thick pages and a cut-away cover. Personally I disliked Fransman's style when drawing people and didn't always feel that her illustration effectively conveyed their character. However, I would urge you to watch the video on the product page and make up your own mind.
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2.0 out of 5 stars It's not a book that I enjoyed despite wanting to, 28 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: The House that Groaned (Paperback)
It's not a book that I enjoyed despite wanting to, alongside an enthusiastic recommendation.
I felt that the characters themselves were there more for shock value than for any other purpose, with very little done to develop them. Some characters feel entirely superfluous as they play little to no role for more than a few pages and then disappear without ever being mentioned, while others get a lot of attention with very little of interest happening to them. Perhaps the most interesting show of personality that is seen in the book was completely ignored and never brought up again, making me question the purpose of putting what could have otherwise been a very interesting development in the book.

Events take their course for seemingly very little rhyme or reason. Most notably a major event is used that I remember being explicitly told not to use in primary school because it's notably poor form, I don't feel as though it holds much water in terms of its story telling.

It does however use a delightful shade of blue throughout, and the art style most definitely stands out. The perspective could do with some work, though.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The House That Groaned, 5 Jan. 2012
This review is from: The House that Groaned (Paperback)
I am not normally in to graphic novels, but when I saw the cover of The House That Groaned, something drew me to it and I decided to give it a shot. I hadn't realised from the picture, but the cover is actually cut away so you are literally looking through windows into the house. A clever ploy by Karrie Fransman to make people enter her house, both physically and imaginatively.

The set up is that the house is sick, and its 6 inhabitants more so. Though Fransman tells 6 individual stories, they are intertwined through a symbiosis of complimentary ailments so that this never feels like anything other than one, carefully crafted, narrative. I don't want to ruin the surprise and delight of discovering the characters, but one of them is a wonderfully, grotesquely fat diva who loves her food and the excess of her body in a perversely affirming way.

Though the story is a good one, it is undoubtedly Fransman's drawings that set this piece apart. She is so clever with her artwork, layering and crowding the frame when we are with the fat diva and switching to stark close ups of body parts when we are with another character who obsesses over her appearance. At times, the very font is part of the image, at others the frame sags and cracks with the walls of the house; it is a superbly organic marriage of form and content and is executed both cleverly and wittily.

I would highly recommend The House That Groaned to anyone, though be warned, it is as dark as it is sweet!
The House that Groaned
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5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Unique!, 30 Jan. 2013
By 
Abi B (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The House that Groaned (Paperback)
The House that Groaned was my favourite read of 2012 and now one of my all time fave books. It is quirky, imaginative, bizarre, funny... utterly unique! It crosses boundaries that most authors wouldn't touch with a barge pole and highlights the diverse nature of the society we live in. The illustrations, all in a lovely jade blue, black and white, are at times funny, at times grotesque and at times poignant. I adored it!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Clever, 13 Jan. 2012
By 
S. A. Broadhurst "SBroadhurst" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The House that Groaned (Paperback)
When I saw the cover of this book, I was instantly attracted to it. it is a clever cover, a double cover. The first being the outside of the house, with the windows cut out and the second cover being the inside of the house, each of the eight 'apartments' being a separate dwelling, each with their own style and individual resident.

I will also admit, that I didn't realise that it was a graphic novel. However, this was a pleasant surprise. i don't usually read graphic novels, thinking of them as comics for grown ups. I was unsure how I would get on with it, not expecting to like it - however much I liked the synopsis I had already read.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised. It was a quick read, and a funny read. We get to meet each of the eight residents, including the 'Do or Diet Club Leader', Barbara, the new resident, and Brian, from number one, to name but a few. They are a mad mix of people to all be under on 'communal roof' and their antics in the book have to be read to be believed.

I would say this is a book that I believe would appeal to men rather than women, but that is just my opinion, women may enjoy it too. It is rather 'adult' content though and not one to leave around for youngsters to flick through.

I will say that I thought the artwork throughout the book was fantastic, great comical cartoon drawing and the dark colour scheme of bluey green (teal?), black and white throughout was perfect for this book.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The House Sings!, 15 Jan. 2012
By 
Amazon Customer "Gav" (Cardiff, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The House that Groaned (Paperback)
Literary graphic novels feel pretty rare. I could be wrong as they are outside radar or more exactly they fall between my main interest in novels and the cursory eye I keep on comics. I have seen a two graphic novels from mainstream (eg non-comic publishers) in the last year one based on a fantasy novel and one with a fish man, which still fall into `genre' so would have a more identifiable audience.

I'd venture that The House That Groaned hasn't got a readymade market but will find fans of literary readers and those that love graphic novels but want something that isn't superheroes and spandex.

It arrived in the morning and I'd read it in the afternoon. Reading comics isn't something that takes hours but it is surprising for me as I had other things I should be doing? So what engaged me? The world that Karrie Fransman managed to create in 141 Rottin Road.

Visually apart from the yellow lights in the windows on the front cover the rest of the book is black, white with various shades of blue. The style is comic art. Each panel gives the thing life as it should but it's more than functionary there is something magical about it.

Not only is there magic in the art but in the story itself. It definitely tips it toes into magical realism, which is quite odd for a story involving the six occupants of house converted to flats. I initially thought it would played `straighter' than it eventually was. And it's surreal blending reality with the imaginary is what makes it so absorbing a read.

Barbara moves in to 141 Rottin Road, which is anything but the thick-walled apartment she was told, but it does allow us an introduction to the other residents, who are if I'm being honest more than a little odd. And Fransman seems to have great fun playing on their oddities. Though they aren't so odd to unrealistic. The woman that runs a fat club but really just wants to eat, the man whose only means of sexual excitement is extreme looking women, and then there is the neighbour across the landing.

Even though it revolves around 141 Rottin Road we occasionally leave its walls to see key defining moments in the characters lives (Fransman even includes the building in those flashbacks). And I think that's the most fascinating aspect; what made them into the strange people that they are?

And that element makes it quite dark. The fact that these people have been so twisted by those key moments and how that has had what we might see as a negative affect on their lives. It's also a very fun and playful story both in terms of visuals and storytelling like the hall literally filling up with people for the diet class and the a very glutenous food eating scene.

The House That Groaned is the type of story that graphic novels are made for. Visually compelling and narratively complex. It's also a book that challenges the conventions and expectations of what the medium can do.

Can we have more books like this? Please!
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The House that Groaned
The House that Groaned by Karrie Fransman (Paperback - 5 Jan. 2012)
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