Book Review: Bothered By My Green Conscience by Franke James

Inspiring others to go green can be an uphill battle, judging from the blank looks of non-comprehension that one may receive at times. However, Toronto-based artist Franke James shows that this doesn't have to be the case. With her delightfully quirky style, James has been chronicling her personal journey in going green through a series of illustrated online essays for some time now, and her latest book, Bothered By My Green Conscience, finally brings five essays together in one edition.
From her decision to "do the hardest thing first" by selling her SUV to de-paving her driveway to plant her own slice of Eden, James' words and images allows us to enter her thought-stream. "Do the hardest thing first, before you change your mind," she writes. But later on, she feels nostalgic and almost changes her mind, but reminds herself to "do the hardest thing first!" and pulls through, but not without a little pink (sigh) on the bottom of the page.

It's part of her signature style that allows James to tackle serious issues (like taking on municipal officials to get a permit to un-pave her property), while delivering them in a (thankfully) disarming manner. Even a printing mistake by the publisher is transformed into a Twitter-fuelled treatise on the phrase "No one will know except you," bringing home the fact that we are responsible only to ourselves for our actions.

But it wasn't always this way. In a recent post on her blog, she relates about how she first started writing long blog posts on climate change concerns that nobody read, and decided to change tactics by using impactful visual collages combining words with images instead. Now "through [her] artwork, [she hopes] to inspire people to take concrete action."

In nurturing her green conscience, James artfully demonstrates that the process can be far from perfect, but her colourfully illustrated enthusiasm and verve is an infectious page-turner.

Franke James
Want to meet Franke and grab a copy of her book? She will be signing books at the launch of Bothered By My Green Conscience at ROOTS on 100 Bloor St. West, Toronto, on July 18th, from 3 to 4 PM.
More on Franke James
Don't Rip Up Your Driveway in North York
Selling the SUV: Do the Hardest Things First
Franke James on Global Warming in Canada
Paradise Unpaved: Franke James' Driveway One Year Later
No One Will Know Except You

Tags: Artists | Books | Canada | Humor

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