Same Difference is a contemporary fiction comic book by Derek Kirk Kim. The book covers the trivial mundane of two Americans of Korean origin namely Simon and Nancy. The two young adult comrades share adventures that life presents together. They commit mistakes and draw lessons from the mistakes made. Besides the author’s introducing the reader to a delightful, light moments and pleasant times, he manages to cover a number of convincing themes. Derek Kirk Kim uses two story fronts gravitating around similar personal character limitations of each of the key characters. In the process of sharing their secrets to each other, the characters hold each other accountable to right the wrongs. Simon’s moment of reviewing his wrong is from the past.
Nancy’s wrong rests in the present. Nancy violates privacy of her neighbor by opening and replying to mail intended to the former occupant of her apartment. The opened letters were careful and polished. The letters were from a secret admirer, not known, who seemed charming enough. When Nancy and Simon start off to correct their past mistakes they take the reader along on this cleansing journey. Same Difference story strikes a rapport with the subject reader with character intent of communication wittingly hidden by the graphic artwork.
The two leading characters, Nancy and Simon, are two pals experiencing a quarter-life crisis. Nancy and Simon are in their twenties and are a bit clueless and have to settle in adulthood. They are having lunch, when Simon sees Irene, a blast from the past. Irene is a former friend of his waiting at the bus stop. Instead of walking up to her, he opts to recount to Nancy the distasteful account of their friendship that still haunts Simon conscience and morality up to date. Later, the two have a sobering moment of opening up their dark secrets at Nancy’s apartment.
Same Difference is a detailed novel laden with a light moment and funny character interaction. The two main characters are there for each other in opening up and correcting their past. However, the characters’ problem solving techniques lead to problems. The book is rich with honest expression depicted on the faces, texture and complexity felt for the lead character including those that were not treated fairly. The story is appropriate for ages 14 and above. However, it is is worth highlighting that the story contains moments when inappropriate language is used jolting one to review its age recommendation.
A considerable part of the story stems from the trivial, mundane activities of Nancy and Simon, the two Korean Americans. Nancy has been communicating with Ben Leland via letters. Ben Leland wrongly believes that he is talking to his former girlfriend who used to reside at where Nancy is living at the moment. Nancy purposes to meet Ben Leland tagging along a reluctant Simon. The comic writing provides a reflection and seeks to explore pressing matters that befall the young generation. The girl is searching for love in wrong places. Derek Kirk Kim explores residual emotional scars accrued from school days and that were more influenced by self-esteem interests rather than morality. Simon’s turning down of the dance request at school serves to illustrate the above. The author explores in a condensed form how familial problems and the desire for one’s identity are affecting young generation.
The author uses his own personal bias to the story spanned by invoking his Korean heritage. It is worth acknowledging that the comic characters do not get weighed down with identity concerns. The author uses his Korean roots to present a sobering discussion on how the young generation views itself.
Nancy and Simon are in their twenties and are at that stage of trying to carve a niche for themselves.