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Black Hole by Charles Burns – Review in Brief

Since it’s a Halloween week, let’s read something uncanny and spooky which can shiver your spine down. Yes, I am talking about the graphic novel, Black Hole by Charles Burns. This graphic novel is all about teenagers and how their lives changed because of a disease that can be transmitted sexually and affects only the teenager. Charles Burns uses his cartoon to create a horrific and uncomfortable atmosphere around his readers. This book is set in the Suburb Seattle of mid-1970s. The author introduces us to the protagonist, who is Keith Pearson and Chris Rhodes.

It is difficult to summarize the entire novel in a small article because the black and white grotesque graphic shows the development and growth of character and the story. In the initial chapters, we see the teenagers discussing the disease that is spreading rapidly among the teenagers from this discussion we get to know the name of the disease “The Bug”.

Once the it infects the person the mutation begins. It results in grotesque deformities like the formation of a tail or an extra mouth around the neck. These deformities look queer and grody because of which ordinary people feel disgusted at the sight of an infected person.

We also get a glimpse of discrimination faced by these infected teenagers; when Dave goes to Kentucky Fried Chicken and other customer abuses him verbally. The situation leads to another confrontation where Dave spits on the verbally abusive customer. It shows him how easy it was to catch ” The Bug”. These infected people were excommunicated from the society. They were treated as an outcast. These infected people live up in an isolated forest away from the city.


The viewpoint of the story keeps changing from Keith to Chris, where they discuss the deathly consequences of the disease. The novel is written in the first-person narration because of which a reader can put himself/ herself in the narrator’s shoes. And it feels what’s going on in their lives. From this writing style, we get to know the doomed life of both the protagonist.
As a reader, I will suggest all my young and teenagers friends read this novel. As this book is touching upon a sensitive topic that is “why we need sex education at the school level”. If the character in the story had little information and knowledge about the disease how it spread and the precautions required, they would not have been caught in the vicious circle of the disease.

This novel tries to educate us through entertainment. It is like an eye-opening to teenagers which shows them the harmful effects of casual sex and also teaches them about right and genuine love!


If anyone wants to start reading and have confusion about what to pick; then this book serves your purpose. The language and storyline are so easy to understand, unlike those classic novels. This novel is not at all time consuming and can be completed in just one day. This story is a complete package of three ” Es” that we all look for in a whisper; it’s Engaging, Educating and Entertaining. So stop scrolling, brew a cup of coffee and dive into the world of eerie and bizarre graphics!

If you have read the book Black Hole by Charles Burns. Do write a small review in comments, and if you haven’t read it yet, here it is – Black Hole by Charles Burns

By Kumkum Jairam.

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