My Spare Life

Swedish title: Mitt extra liv

Category: Children / Fiction 12-15

Pub date: 21-09-2009

Format: 240 pages, 151x228 mm, b/w illustrations

My Spare LifeA Graphic Novel

Johan Unenge

This is a graphic novel about being brave even if you don’t want to.

“How the hell did this happen? Not very long ago I was in my room playing Mortal Combat 3 with my pal Ubbe. Or watching Hellevik Tigers playing basket ball. Everybody knew that it was thanks to Youssef that they always won. Even Albin understood that, even if he claimed that all coloured people were monkies. But I suppose he meant those at the refugee camp. Everyone said they were the ones that should leave, get out. All but me. And perhaps Alva… who maybe, maybe could be my girlfriend.
If he just hadn’t knocked on my door that night. That’s when it all started. And that’s when I realised that nobody is who you think they are. Not even me.”

A graphic novel that asks some tricky questions: Do all have to think alike? Do you decide for yourself? What is courage? Can you love everyone?

These are the important things Mattias has to consider over a couple of weeks.
He is a teenager living in a small town in Sweden. Many adults are unemployed and outside the city a refugee camp is situated. Some of the refugees have escaped from the camp when they were informed that they would not be allowed to stay in Sweden. Mattias’s father is a police officer. His job is to locate the refugees, who have stolen food in a gas station, but also to stop the people in the city from taking things into their own hands. At the same time the main character notices traces of somebody hanging around their house.

One day one of the refugees knocks on the door, but Mattias closes the door on him. The second time the young man asks for help the Mattias suddenly decides to hide him in his basement. He doesn’t tell anyone about this, he keeps the secret to himself but sometimes it fis difficult not to tell. At the same time Mattias is attracted to a girl in his class, Alva. She is very pretty, but as Mattias gets to know her he realises he tries not to ignore her ideas about the refugees and the violence she is involved in. One day, when they make out, he sees that she has a small swastika around her neck. This makes him stop kissing her and leave her. But Mattias is angry and finds it hard to make choices and listen to his inner voice of what is right and wrong. He tries to take it out on the violent games he plays on his TV.

The young refugee in the basement finally leaves, the father sees him go and the only thing missing is the small white polar bear that the young man found beautiful.

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Mathilde Coffy

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