All My Friends Are Still Dead, by Avery Monsen & Jory John
Having read a book by the authors before, I had a good idea of what to expect in this volume and found the book to continue where the last one left off. As one might expect, the authors continued to show an approach that blended the tendency to inspire laughter about loneliness as well as reflect upon the (possibly imaginary) emotional longings of other beings that either exist in our world of reality or the world of imagination. Here too there is plenty that the authors have to say about isolation  and the way that repeated attempts at reaching out across the great void of silence that surrounds us are rebuffed and treated with rejection and even contempt. The authors seem to have a paradoxical point here in wanting to show both that our isolation may be shared by other beings that inhabit our world, and that our loneliness is not necessarily our fault, although sometimes it may be, as is the case here. The authors also show some ways of coping with loneliness that are good and some that are less than ideal.
As might be expected with a book that is a sequel to another one, this book features some callbacks from beloved characters in the previous volume like the lonely dinosaur and dodo as well as death, who is shown to be lonely for a particularly striking and even ironic reason, namely that whoever he chooses to spend time around falls over dead and so there are no living beings with whom he can converse and relate. A new character spends a great deal of effort trying to reach out to other electronics after feeling a sense of eternal loneliness, only to be rejected by an all-in-one printer/scanner and a fridge. Another character ends up being alone in heaven trying to resolve his loneliness by staring at pretty girls down below, while a coroner alienates all of his dates by bringing up his work. We also get to meet lonely pigs, lottery tickets, mosquitoes, lollipops, caterpillars, and earthworms, among other lonely beings. All of them share a sense of isolation from others, either because a winning lottery ticket can only be around losers, or because being lonely and isolated tends to make one awkward enough that one alienates those one happens to be around despite one’s best efforts.
Like the previous volume, this one combines a certain sense of humor as well as a great deal of poignancy. Unlike the first volume, though, some of these beings are portrayed as being at least somewhat culpable in their loneliness, like the lottery ticket as well as the coroner. However, the book tugs at the heartstrings with a look at two lonely janitors with an imaginary trashcan girlfriend as well as the poor little robot vehicle who was not created with emotions but who feels a void in his heart (?) that can only be filled with intimacy, a task for which he is ill-suited and which others are not welcoming towards. As a sympathetic reader of such accounts, I found that the drawings and text generally framed the lonely beings in a highly sympathetic light and that a great deal of the people who are likely to read and appreciate the books the most that the authors have written are probably more than a little bit familiar with the feelings of the lonely beings within these pages. This is a short volume, but it carries with it a certain degree of emotional resonance that is likely to expose by the response of the reader their identification with the lonely beings inside.
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