Review: Emma Dreams of Stars

Authors/Artists: Kan Takahama, Emmanuelle Maisonneuve, Julia Pavlowitch
Publisher: Vertical Comics
Released: November 30, 2021
Received: NetGalley

It isn’t every day that you get to see a graphic novel based on a true story, so when Emma Dreams of Stars popped up on my radar, I knew I had to give it a try. Created by Julia Pavlowitch, Kan Takahama, and Emmanuelle Maisonneuve, Emma Dreams of Stars tells the story of a former Michelin Guide Inspector.

Young Emma always had one dream in life: to find her way into the world of Michelin Guides by becoming a food inspector. It’s a dream she worked hard at, and now it seems to finally be about to come true. This is the true story of how she got here.

Remember, Emma is a real person, and this story really did happen. The depictions of the harsh life of a food critic are very much real, though most likely never thought to consider the details of those lives. I know I didn’t.

If you’ve ever been curious about what it is like to be a food critic (in France, no less!), then you really ought to read Emma Dreams of Stars. The fact that the story is told in a graphic novel format allows for visual elements and is an overall shorter read.

I enjoyed the format of Emma’s story. It added a lot to the visual side of things. Admittedly, I think more time could have been spent letting readers know Emma first. Perhaps this wouldn’t have been an issue if I went into it knowing more about her work? I can’t say.

Emma Dreams of Stars had a lot going for it, including the accurate portrayal of a person’s real life. This included many personal moments and industry-specific issues such as gender discrimination and the exhaustion/loneliness that can come from constant travel and isolation.

Thanks to Vertical Comics for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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