Book Review: All the Answers by Michael Kupperman

All The Answers: Kupperman, Michael: 9781501166433: Books

Title: All the Answers

Author: Michael Kupperman

Genre: Non-Fiction Graphic Novel

Number of Pages: 224

Rating: B+

Recommended?: Yes

When I started reading this book I wasn’t all that sure about it and I almost gave up on it early on, but I’m so sure I didn’t. Michael Kupperman’s art style is odd and took a little bit of getting used to, but the true story portrayed in this graphic novel is as fascinating as it is heartbreaking. All the Answers is about Michael Kupperman’s dad Joel, who’s claim to fame was a World War II-era game show called Quiz Kids. The author and his dad had a pretty distant relationship and then Joel started to succumb to Alzheimer’s and Michael realized he had a lot of questions about his father’s life that would soon be lost to history.

All the Answers is the story of how Joel Kupperman’s mother used his high intelligence to play stage mother and skyrocket her son to fame as a ‘kid genius’ and how his experiences in television left him irreparably damaged. Joel was socially awkward (I would speculate he might have been on the autism spectrum) and he outstayed his welcome on Quiz Kids until he became at least as hated as Wil Wheaton and reviled by the media. He ended up feeling like he had been used like a performing monkey and sank into depression and anonymity.

Even though this graphic novel is about Joel Kupperman, a fairly obscure historical figure I’d never heard of before, I found it to be educational in a number of ways and it gave me a look at the zeitgeist of the World War II era. I never warmed up to the author himself but that’s probably a good thing because it means he made the story about his father instead of himself. What happened to the author’s dad made me so sad but I believe it’s also incredibly relevant to the ‘child stars’ of today. I finished All the Answers in one sitting and I recommend it to people who like reading about events in history that maybe aren’t all that well-known.

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