If I had to describe Crushing in a sentence, I would say—it’s beautiful, but too goddamn real with its portrayal of loneliness.
In this day and age with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing people to distance and isolate themselves, people are yearning for human connection. And in Crushing, two nameless characters are searching for that lost connection in the people they interact with and in the crowds they’re in.
Sophie Burrows does a beautiful job illustrating the two character’s loneliness and their yearning to have human connection with others. No words are needed in this graphic novel; it’s completely silent and quiet, but it packs quite a punch with the emotions brimming from the art. The drawings are so well-done, especially the symbolism of using red to emphasize that connection people want and are missing and the parallels between the two characters in facing pages.
Crushing evokes this heavy feeling of loneliness (and also hope) into the drawings. The emotions can be overwhelming, and that’s what I love about it—that it sets this set of relatable and powerful feelings on your shoulders like you’re in these characters’ shoes.
Everybody has experience what these characters feel—feeling alone in a sea of people or feelings like you’re on the outskirts looking in at all the people who have partners or children and wanting what they have. We don’t realize how important it is to have any type of interaction with people—may it be just a nod or small talk about world happenings. It’s important for our mental health. That’s what Crushing beautifully pulls off. Not wanting to be alone is a universal feeling.
Who should read Crushing? Everybody looking for human connection in a world we’re isolated in.
Should you read Crushing? Absolutely.