The magic circle: when anxiety becomes a good story

The magic circle: when anxiety becomes a good story

The magic circle

Anxiety. Such a short word, but with such a powerful meaning. Often pronounced repeatedly and without attributing the true value it has towards the people who really suffer from it. And among these, we must not exclude the youngest, a fragile category, to be protected, also exposed to the elements of everyday life. The fact of being children or adolescents makes life perhaps more colorful, sometimes carefree, but it does not always happen, and Carlotta Scalabrini tells it, or rather illustrates it in the true sense of the word, in her new graphic novel, The magic circle. This is a new issue of the BaBAO level 3 series, dedicated to young readers of publications signed by the publisher BAO Publishing and available from 6 May, a story dedicated to teenagers and recommended for ages 12 and up. How did our reading of this author's debut graphic novel go? Let's find out together in our review.

The magic circle, adolescence and "small" problems (not of the heart)

They are not the classic "small problems of the heart", the ones we are talking about in this story that sees young children developing as protagonists, in a decidedly delicate and transitional age. Olivia is a girl who is part of this age group: she goes to school, she has a friend and a brother who love her, but every time there is a class test or a group outing something blocks her, it makes her feel bad, she would like to hide and sink, without really understanding the reason for this reaction.

He simply calls her "fear", but perhaps it is too superficial a term to describe his psychophysical situation. She decides to fight this personal and silent battle in which no one seems to be able to understand her, let alone know how to help her, where the secret diary is her only outlet, as often happens for children of this age (for those who still do not trust, in toto or in part, to the more immediate, impacting and certainly less private world of social networks, to share one's emotions and daily experiences).

All is not lost though; when a dark boy arrives at school, with the symbolic name Nero, the world around her seems to change. He makes her discover innate abilities, which she did not even know she possessed: Olivia realizes she is a witch, and that by controlling her powers and her sensitivity she could even face an enormous danger: the terrible shadow that threatens Valle Volpetta. . But what is it about? What is actually this danger that risks falling on the girl's world? But first of all, Olivia has to fight another pitfall: the one that lurks in her head and disrupts her life on any occasion, making the moments that should be joyful and convivial terrible and unlivable.

Fear has no age

The magic circle tells in a hundred pages, illustrated with simple lines and a style definitely suited to an audience of children and young adolescents, how worries are (often mistakenly) attributed only to people of a more "advanced" age than these readers. The debut of the illustrator Carlotta Scalabrini in comics is in fact dictated by this book which talks about feelings, often negative and difficult to resolve, as well as panic attacks. The author talks about how it is not so easy to grow up, but also about how it is possible to accept and live with one's frailties which at times seem insurmountable, with the intervention of parents, but not always positive.

Can in fact, it may happen that the latter are not always able to recognize the psychological problems of their children from the beginning, trying to exacerbate them, or at least soothe them in the best way, as soon as the symptoms of anxiety and panic appear. The stereotype is probably still in force today that these pathologies are only affixed to a more adult, “lived” world, which has had the opportunity to accumulate various negative experiences in its past and fears that they may reappear in the present. Instead, there are fears related to the unknown, to situations that peek into our heads without even having lived them yet, but whose mere thought drives those who experience them crazy. And all this is ageless.

Thank you, Mom. Nice advice. “Braver”… easy! If pressing a button were enough to clear my thoughts, do you think I wouldn't?

Between taboos and forgotten worlds

A theme perhaps still difficult to understand, assimilate and clear through customs, almost as if it were a dangerous taboo. Unfortunately, however, like any trauma and, after all, a pathology that tends to lodge itself in the psyche of those who experience it, anxiety and imaginary fears risk becoming an increasingly big problem to manage, both for those who experience them and for those around them. the patient. So why mark the life of a young person when it should be as rosy, light and fun as possible? Recent TV series, also of Italian origin, including Zero on Netflix, but also the famous The End Of The F *** ing World, tell it about how reality for young people risks being often difficult and obliges them to grow in an abrupt and sudden way, burning stages that do not allow you to gradually approach the world, as it should be.

The graphic novel, however, is also interesting to an audience of more adult readers, not only to discover in an easy way and immediate how the world of adolescent psychology can reveal itself, between fears and daydreams, but also to relive a technological world that has now disappeared: from the use of the MSN instant messaging service to the good old Nokia 3310 for a game of Snake, up to to quotes from Blink-182 songs that are over twenty years old. Many small references to an adolescent world perhaps a little distant from that of today, but which also allows an audience of young parents to meet and understand the situations described even better.

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