The Chair by Peter Simeti

Mind over body?

This was my first graphic novel to read and review. The format resembled a comic book. It’s drawn in black and white; I would compare it to charcoal art.

The story is about Richard Sullivan’s final days on death row. Simeti leaves nothing out when he describes prison torture, including extreme violence which results in murders, and deep psychological torment.

Sullivan always protested his innocence. This meant nothing to a prisoner on death row with a few days before being executed. He thinks about his life and how he ended up on death row. This isn’t easy as he witnesses prison guards beat and rape other prisoners. He also has learned what crimes his fellow prisoners committed in order to be on death row. It’s not a pretty picture and all this messes with his mind.

The final days are the worst for Sullivan. The guards are more violent to him physically and emotionally. He is at the end of his rope. This results in outbursts of anger as he is just shy of insanity at this point. He does lose it completely and it’s pretty horrifying.

The graphics are violent, no doubt, but it is equally violent as to what goes on in Sullivan’s mind, especially on his final day. I think it proves our minds are more fragile than our physical bodies.

The end has a twist to it which I won’t spoil for readers.

Hats off to graphic artist, Kevin Christensen, for a job well done.

The book is labeled for adults, mature audiences. I agree.

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