First published in 1999, Good-bye, Chunky Rice is the very first graphic novel by Craig Thompson (author of Blankets and Habibi). With this debut, Thompson won the 2000 Harvey Award for Best New Talent. The book tells an appealing story of Chunky Rice, a cute small turtle who followed the call of the ocean and had to leave his girlfriend and best friend, Dandel the adorable deer mouse.
Presented in brilliant artistic touch of black-and-white illustrations, Good-bye, Chunky Rice graphic novel presents a beautiful story of friendship, love, and the journey one must take to “find” the meaning of one’s life. Despite having a peaceful and happy life on land, there was drive inside him to go to the boundless sea and he knew that inevitably he would go. He didn’t want to leave his best friend Dandel and asked her to come along but Dandel couldn’t go because she believed that she belonged on the land. However, she insisted that Chunky should find where he belonged.
Finally, after paying some money, Chunky was taken on board to sail the ocean by Charles, a hardly seaworthy captain. On the ship, Chunky met Livonia and Ruth, Siamese twins with different body size and sleeping habit. In the middle of the ocean, Chunky got new and different experiences, exciting ones, weird ones, and some perilous ones.
With touching, bittersweet story and magnificent artistic display, Craig Thompson had successfully and convincingly put his name among the great graphic novelists in the world.