Chunky is a new graphic memoir in which Yehudi (Hudi) conjures an imaginary friend/mascot, Chunky to support him through a challenging time in his life. Hudi is a funny kid with a serious interest in comedy Because of childhood illness, Hudi has had one lung removed. He is also chubby with zero athletic prowess, in a family of athletic people. His dad won so many sports trophies in school and encourages Hudi to pick a sport. His mother thinks sports will also help Hudi regulate his weight. And so Hudi begins to try sport after sport — with hilarious results, and Chunky cheering him all the way.
This is a fun, and funny book. It’s also very endearing with lovely illustrations in an engaging style. Hudi is easy to love, with his sense of humor and his willingness to try new things, even to his peril. He tries a variety of sports, from baseball to soccer and eventually football. Each sport has an entire section of the book dedicated to it.
I also liked his relationship with his parents. As concerned as they are about his weight and health, they’re not too overbearing, and it’s easy to see that they just want him to be okay, and his dad is also dealing with the fact that his kid probably won’t be as athletic as he is. The family also faces challenges when Hudi’s father loses his job and may not be able to afford his sister’s bah mitzvah. He eventually finds work out of town, but this separates the family and causes a bit of a strain too,
I loved the resolution of this story. Hudi eventually finds a sport he can be an asset to, but at what cost? The author shows how easily we can lose ourselves, especially when we’re eager to please the ones we love and be accepted by other people.
Chunky is an entertaining, funny, and poignant graphic memoir about body image, sports, family, comedy and being Jewish. This book is highly imaginative and features a likable and relatable protagonist coming of age and learning to accept himself and pursue his passions, whether or not other people understand. Hand this one to fans of graphic novels like Telgemeier’s Smile and Hale’s Real Friends. I look forward to reading whatever this author does next.