Publication: June 12th 2019 by Europe Comics Pages: 160 Purchase: Amazon | Goodreads Manuel and Mia live together in Bologna, in a house that is so crowded they have a roommate they’ve never seen. Mia is almost thirty, hates her job, and has a deep desire to dig into life before it’s too late—before becoming hopelessly adult. Manuel is publishing a serial novel online about courtly love, which he hopes might one day find a publisher. Mia and Manuel have dreams, but are unhappy. They don’t know how to face the void created between them. They’re losing themselves, even though they love each other. If they’re to straighten things out, they must find the right measure.
We always think that we deserve a better life, but we’re not willing to make it happen ourselves.
It’s been years since I’ve read a graphic novel. However, after recently becoming a member of NetGalley, I came across Flavia Biondi’s Just Enough in the ‘read now’ section, and was instantly drawn to the art style. The cover, thankfully, did not disappoint. The illustrations were beautiful and modern, perfectly depicting the characters and the emotions they felt throughout this slice-of-life novel.
Just Enough tells the story of a couple in their late twenties trying to navigate through life — as well as through their relationship. Being in my late twenties myself, I found this story to be very relatable — and I found myself relating to Mia, especially, in a very real way. Biondi did an incredible job of presenting the reader with a flawed main character who was still likeable and very easy to connect with. I feel the situation Mia finds herself in — feeling lost in regards to her career and her relationship; feeling like she hasn’t achieved what she thought she would have by that point in her life — is something that we’ve all been through at one point or another in our own lives, and it made Just Enough feel all the more realistic.
The thing I loved most about this novel, however, was the way in which Biondi wrote the relationship between Mia and Manu. I’m so used to reading fiction that dramatises every aspect of falling in love, and deals solely with the early stages of romance, but this felt like reading about a relationship I had been in myself. Seeing these two characters trying to navigate their way through the challenges presented to them from being together for a very long time — to the point where their relationship had become stagnant and lacking in the sort of love and romance they both clearly needed to be happy — honestly made my heart hurt. I found myself rooting for them so much, not only because I’m a bit of a romantic, but because it felt so realistic that I really wanted to believe that people could get through the kind of struggles they found themselves fighting against, and come out of it stronger at the other end.
It’s also worth mentioning how well the other relationships were written in the book, too. Biondi has observed the way in which we exist alongside others in an incredibly touching and beautiful way. Every relationship — friendship, romantic, family — felt so real to me when reading Just Enough.
I absolutely adored this story, and it’s definitely encouraged me to pick up more graphic novels in the future. I’ll definitely be reading this one again very soon. I can’t get over how much I connected to the characters and the story. I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes realistic graphic novels, or who is willing to give them a try. It deserves to be read.
All I need is a small house, your arms around me, an awkward dog. Our own little slice of heaven. I want to spend my days telling stories, weaving words together one by one.